This story on David Bruckner’s “The Night House” was first published in January 2020 after the film’s premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.
Director David Bruckner, who first broke out at Sundance with 2007’s “The Signal,” dropped by TheWrap studio at Sundance to discuss the obstacles he faced on his second solo-directed feature film, the psychological horror thriller “The Night House” starring Rebecca Hall. (Watch the interview above.)
“It was just challenging in several new ways,” Bruckner said. “There’s a confounding kind of labyrinthine aspect to the plot in the mystery and so that was a lot of plates to keep spinning.”
“As we move through it, it really focused on a central performance in a way that I had never had a chance to do. We had Rebecca carrying the movie, and we spend a large part of the movie with just Rebecca doing various things that she digs herself a deeper hole into the nightmare. It was fun in that way and it was complex challenge,” he added.
Hall was eager to take on the role. “I think when the script is good and you can imagine it when you’re reading it then the job is just trying to match your imagination with what you end up doing when they say action,” the actress said.
“The Night House” centers on Beth (Hall) who is reeling from the unexpected death of her husband, and is left alone in the lakeside home he built for her. She tries as best she can to keep together — but then the dreams come. Disturbing visions of a presence in the house call to her, beckoning with a ghostly allure. But the harsh light of day washes away any proof of a haunting. Against the advice of her friends, she begins digging into his belongings, yearning for answers. What she finds are secrets both strange and terrible and a mystery she’s determined to resolve.
Bruckner goes on to discuss some of the film’s biggest influences.
“As far as like specific films that influenced it I think probably every haunt film that we’ve ever seen,” added Bruckner. “We talked a lot about ‘Turn of the Screw,’ going all the way back to that which was the initial question of is this happening at someone’s mind or is it something overt that’s happening in the world? Is it external? Is it internal? I think that there’s a long history of that kind of exploration in ghost stories and it is something that we embraced.”