“The Night House,” the upcoming psychological horror directed by David Bruckner, follows the trend of recent films, like “The Invisible Man,” “Hereditary” and “Midsommar,” by centering on female protagonists dealing with grief and trauma. However, this movie sets itself apart by cranking up the volume on the jump scares.
During the Wednesday premiere at the Cinépolis Chelsea in New York City, the “Night House” stars discussed the film and some of the reviews that have called it “one of the loudest horror movies ever made.”
Rebecca Hall plays Beth, a woman dealing with the sudden suicide of her husband Owen (Evan Jonigkeit), whom she can still somehow sense around her maze-like house as she discovers dark secrets about his past.
“The horror genre is reclaiming some history of females just being objects that scream,” Hall told Variety. “Now there’s a reclaiming of that to turn it into something more constructive and potent.”
When asked about the importance of telling female-led horror stories, she added with a laugh, “It’s as important to tell them with women at the front as it is to tell them with men at the front, so, you know, you might as well!”
Jonigkeit even compared Hall’s performance to one of the female icons in the horror genre.
“Even as far back as ‘Misery’ with Kathy Bates, I think there are so many really strong female characters that are getting in the forefront. This genre has created a bunch of opportunities for amazing performances, and Rebecca’s is definitely up there with the top of them,” Jonigkeit told Variety.
In film critic David Ehrlich’s review for IndieWire, he called “The Night House” “shudderingly intense and sadistically loud” with jump scares that “often arrive without any warning whatsoever.” Meanwhile, Variety critic Dennis Harvey praised composer Ben Lovett‘s “effective score” that contributed to the film’s “discomfiting atmosphere.” The film’s co-writer Ben Collins and Lovett offered differing takes on the several reviews that have referenced the jarring jump scares and score.
“David Ehrlich called it the loudest horror movie ever made. I don’t agree with him necessarily — I would like it to be true just because it’s a nice thing to say,” Collins told Variety.
He also noted that the film “does get loud at times,” but says it was intentional. “There’s an interview with David Lynch when I was in college where he said something about how movies should be as loud as rock concerts. I like noise music and metal. For me, loud, abrasive sounds are not necessarily unpleasant. They’re still surprising when you’re not expecting them, but I find that that stuff very desirable.”
Lovett, on the other hand, was caught by surprise by the interest in the movie’s sound, but said it may have drummed up buzz for the horror.
“We’ve all felt like that’s a very peculiar and strange take on this. There’s only so loud; I don’t think you can be louder. That’s sort of a volume knob issue,” he told Variety. “Musically, making those moments tends to fall into my lap in the sound department and to make sure to effectively put your heart rate up. I think from what people are saying, we do that pretty effectively in a few moments. I don’t think it’s anything egregious or anything any other movie doesn’t do. I don’t think we’re reinventing anything; we’re just pretty adept at finding what works in the context of the story.”