The Night House is a thrilling horror game with a non-trivial plot. The idea of mystical houses inhabited by otherworldly entities is far from new, but in this film the director used an unconventional approach. Not only does the inner demon live in the house, there is also an original architecture – an optical illusion that creates the impression of someone else’s presence. The meaning of the film “The Night House” is ambiguous, and the open ending makes you think. Let’s make a detailed analysis of the horror and try to find a clue to the director’s idea.
What is movie “The Night House” about
Let’s start the review with a review of the brief content of the film “The Night House”. Meet Beth. She works as a school teacher and has recently been left a widow in a large house. Her husband Owen took his own life by shooting a bullet in the head while sailing in a boat to the middle of the lake.
Beth does not understand why her husband made such a decision. She didn’t even know that her husband had a gun. However, later, struggling with depression, Beth will realize that she did not know the person with whom she lived for many years under the same roof. Only a suicide note remained from her husband, which states that there really is nothing there, and Beth is safe.
Such a message may seem strange. However, in her youth, the girl suffered a clinical death: her heart did not beat for 4 whole minutes. Then she was asked many times what is there, beyond the bounds of life? But she always answered that there was emptiness. However, Beth was wrong. After death, there is something beyond the control of the human mind. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and return to the beginning of the story.
Beth misses her husband, and soon strange things begin to happen in the quiet house by the lake. The girl feels someone else’s presence, the music turns on in the middle of the night, traces of bare feet are visible on the pier near the water. One day, Beth receives a message from her husband’s number. She finds his phone and accidentally discovers a photo of a black-haired woman who looks a lot like her.
She decides to look into the situation, although her friend Claire persuades her not to. Beth finds strange drawings and books, discovers many photographs of unfamiliar women of the same type. One night, Beth sees lights on the other side of the lake, although there can be no buildings there. She goes for a walk and actually discovers a house that is very similar to the one she lives in. Here she finds a voodoo doll, but the scariest find is hidden under the floorboards. These are the bodies of the dead women.
Beth comes to the conclusion that her husband was a homicidal maniac, but, oddly enough, this does not frighten her. When an invisible Something appears in the house, she takes it for the spirit of her husband, and says how much she misses him. However, the ghost reveals that he is not Owen. As a result, the woman finds herself in a looking glass, where she sees her husband’s victims who are hiding from their killer.
Here she finds out that Owen was possessed by some diabolical entity that needed Beth. However, the man did not want to give his wife to the demon or Death itself. Therefore, he built two houses with occult traps, killed similar women, sacrificing them. However, his efforts are in vain. Something is getting to Beth.
They sit in a boat, where the devil, in the form of her husband, persuades Beth to take the last step – pull the trigger and stay in the dark. Our heroine is already ready to do this, but her friend’s voice pulls her out of oblivion. Worried, Claire arrived at Beth’s house and saw her sitting in an empty boat.
At the end of the film “The Night House”, the heroine is saved. Her neighbor Mel, who also arrived at the scene, sees the outlines of a human figure in the boat. Titles, final.
“The Night House” Ending explained
It is immediately worth noting that the end in the film is completed, although the interpretation remains ambiguous. An explanation for the final scene could be as follows. Beth coped with her inner demon, pushing her to suicide, and despite all the trials that fell to her, she decided to live on. This was prompted by her friend’s voice, which she heard while in a place where there are two moons in the sky at once.
However, the idea here is that the explanation of the ending and the meaning for each viewer is different. Beth still has to die. After all, there is no escape from death, so the scene in the boat is only a delay in the natural ending. However, refusing to shoot, Beth made a choice in favor of those people to whom she is dear. This is Mel’s neighbor and her high school friend Claire. Let the heroine die, but this will not happen soon, and she will definitely not interrupt her life path, obeying a demon from the other world.
The only thing that is not clear from the meaning of the plot is whether Beth will stay in the house by the lake. On the one hand, everything here reminds of a husband who really loved her and tried to protect her. On the other hand, it was here that the devilish essence overtook her, plunging her into a whirlpool of nightmares. Considering that, according to the content of the film “The Night House”, the heroine quite calmly perceived everything that happened, we can assume that she will stay.
WHERE DOES BETH GO WHEN SLEEPING?
Every time Beth falls asleep, her subconscious mind kicks in and takes her to different places where she sees supernatural events. This technique has often been used in horror films to represent a restless state of mind. This is effective for learning how the events of the story affect that character and place a heavy burden on their head. Common to all of Beth’s “nightmares” is the place where she wakes up: the bathroom.
During the climactic flashback sequence, this is where “something”, posing as Owen, traps Beth and abandons her. This kind of becomes the point of contact of the spirit with Beth and prepares her for the finale.
WHY IS OWEN KILLING ALL THESE WOMEN?
Rummaging through Owen’s belongings and phone, Beth finds several photographs of women. The ladies look like her, similar enough to “trick” anyone into thinking they are Beth.
This is exactly what Owen wanted to do. For a brief moment, we are shown what Owen wrote in the margins of the book, and here it is of great importance. “Deceive him, don’t talk to him.” “The Thing” eventually reveals that he has been accompanying Beth since she died within four minutes and hasn’t seen “the Thing”.
In an attempt to win her back, “something” kept speaking into Owen’s ear, demanding that he kill Beth. In response to his demands, Owen visits an occult bookstore and attempts to trick the spirit into trapping it inside something.
To achieve the same, he builds a replica of his and Beth’s house in the woods and brings several women who look exactly like Beth to the house to fool “something”. When Beth visits another house one evening, drunk and upset, she discovers the bodies of all the women Owen had to kill to save Beth.
His noble intentions are also indicated by Beth’s strange conversation with Madeleine in the bookstore. According to the latter’s account, Owen stops at her request when she feels uncomfortable, and presumably reaches the verge of killing women, as Madeleine is the last known woman to survive whose photo is on his phone.
WHY IS OWEN KILLING HIMSELF?
Although it is never explicitly stated, it is made clear through Madeleine’s introduction into the narrative that Owen finally killed himself after realizing the futility of his attempts to kill women for Beth’s sake. The mysterious letter, once deciphered by Beth, to her shock, is a sign of submission.
He can no longer kill because “nothing” is ruthless. He will stop at anything to get Beth back when she was meant to be with him. Thus, Owen could not kill women all his life in order to prevent “something”.
Initially, Beth projects her state of mind into suicide. There is an elaborate scene where she has some sort of “survivor’s guilt” in the pub. She feels like she passed on her sadness and depression to him, but she didn’t have the courage to go through with it herself. This clearly seems like an incorrect assumption, as seen in a flashback when we see Owen losing himself listening to “Nothing” order him to kill all the women.
This is perhaps the most frightening conclusion from the movie for me. In a twisted sense, the murders are a symbol of the love between Beth and Owen. We’ve all seen lovers go to great lengths to admit it to their partners. But this is extreme. There is nothing that can surpass this great act of sacrificing one’s own conscious self.
In flashbacks, we see that after a while, the feeling of compassion for women and regret for his actions seems almost alien to him. The later murders are carried out with the indifference and coldness of a serial killer. The action itself loses its meaning for him; as well as its consequences. He resigns himself to the idea of protecting Beth from the “spirit”.
How to deal with grief
Grief is another prominent theme in the film. Beth’s façade is gradually eroded to reveal the immeasurable pain deep down she feels over the loss of Owen. At first, she appears to be recovering from her divorce, watching videos of her wedding night and drinking alcohol. Soon enough, the suicide bomber jumps on you in a visceral and raw moment out of nowhere.
The brilliant Rebecca Hall deftly reveals Beth’s confusion, betrayal, anger and guilt. The “why” of the event makes her beckon to the darkest secrets of Owen’s life and forces her to look for an explanation that is not there. Despite the rather drastic deviation the film makes from advancing this theme, Hall encapsulates a searing emotion rarely seen on screen with such precision.
The meaning of the movie “The Night House”
In fact, the main character here is Owen. Throughout his life with Beth, he did everything to protect his wife. A man simply physically could not harm the woman he loved. This vividly depicts the scene in Beth’s vision as she lies on her husband’s lap and sleeps. He begins to squeeze her throat, but cannot complete what he started.
In this case, do not forget that Owen is obsessed. And in the literal sense of the word. Having survived clinical death, Beth pulled a demon into our world. She should have died, but she survived, so Death came for her to take the life that was rightfully hers. Owen was chosen as an intermediary, but he did not cope with the mission assigned to him. On the contrary, the man began to play with death.
He built the house on the principle of caerdroi – this is a Welsh labyrinth. According to legend, the walls of the legendary Troy were built in this way. This was done so that those who went inside could no longer get out. In our case, the caerdroya served as an occult trap, preventing death from finding its victim and breaking free.
For the same purpose, a second house was built. Owen just made a mirror image of his life. He brought women who looked like his wife there and killed them, obeying his demon. However, this was done only in order to protect his real wife. Unfortunately, the storyline does not provide an explanation for the backstory. Therefore, behind the scenes remains a turning point.
Owen protected his wife for more than one year, protecting her from death. It can be assumed that at some point something went wrong. Perhaps there was some kind of breakdown in the man’s soul. Most likely, that is why he could not kill Madeleine – the girl from the bookstore. Beth discovered her photo on her husband’s phone, starting to spin the whole story of Owen.
Then the man realized that his plan to cheat death did not work. He only multiplies evil, postponing the death of his beloved woman. Owen finds the only, as it seems to him, the right way out. He comforts his wife by leaving her a suicide note and shoots himself in the head. It seems to a man that by killing himself, he is guaranteed to protect his wife. However, suicide only launched another round of events. Death had no deterrent left, so the demon that broke free began to act on its own.
Apparently, the main goal was to drive Beth to suicide. After all, suicides do not go to heaven, and their souls go to the devil. Therefore, the heroine was given the necessary settings: constant memories of her husband, someone else’s presence, which only intensifies depression.
If we consider the hidden meaning of the film “The Night House” from the point of view of Owen’s story, then it can be expressed as follows: love is stronger than death. Owen killed himself to save the woman he loved, and Beth did not commit suicide in order to preserve the memory of her husband.