“The Night House” (Searchlight)

Rebecca Hall and Vondie Curtis-Hall star in a scene from the movie "The Night House." The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. (CNS/Searchlight Pictures)

By Catholic News Service

Creative, though elusive, psychological chiller in which Rebecca Hall, who ably sustains the whole movie, plays a recently widowed school teacher trying to come to terms with her architect husband’s (Evan Jonigkeit) gunshot suicide. Continuing to reside in the lake house he designed for them, she has a series of eerie experiences that lead her to suspect that he was living a dark double life. She’s offered sympathy by her best friend (Sarah Goldberg) and a kindly neighbor (Vondie Curtis-Hall) but must ultimately confront the mystery on her own.

Together with screenwriters Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski, director David Bruckner avoids bloodshed in favor of menace and, while the script flirts with some unorthodox ideas about the afterlife, these are ultimately left, like much else, unresolved. Thus, although the film requires mature discernment, there’s nothing to debar most grown viewers from enjoying it.

Occult themes, some grim but stylized violence, brief gruesome images, fleeting rear male nudity in a nonsexual context, a couple of profanities, about a half-dozen milder oaths, considerable rough language, a few crude terms. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

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