Horror fans are in their element this week, with the arrival of two atmospheric, psychological outings – Prano Bailey-Bond’s highly praised Censor and The Night House, the latest from self-confessed horror director, David Bruckner.
Released in cinemas this Friday, the film finds recently widowed Beth (Rebecca Hall) now living alone in a spacious lakeside house designed and built by her husband. Coming to terms with her unfamiliar solitude isn’t made easier by profound grief and the strong sense of her husband’s presence that fills the house. But, when she comes across clues pointing towards a side of his life and character of which she was totally ignorant, she’s driven to find out more, if only to find some much-needed peace.
Bruckner, who also directed The Ritual (2017), knows he’s made a film which can be interpreted in a multitude of ways and, as he explains in the interview below, he believes all of them are correct. It could be a ghost story, a psychological horror, a thriller and he recalls “a joke we had on set. The answer to any of the interpretations was yes! It’s all of those – a riff on a haunted house theme, a gothic romance,” he says. “It all depends on where you draw the line between what it is real and what is metaphorical.”
It’s a film with minimal dialogue and a small cast, which was one of the reasons Bruckner was attracted to the script. “It very much told a story of isolation,” he recalls. “And I wanted to focus on a single character’s arc and their loneliness.”
He’s now turned his attention to re-visiting classic 80s horror Hellraiser and, while he’s guarded about the production, the horror fan in him is excited by the prospect of opening up the world created by the original and re-exploring it.
The Night House screened at the Edinburgh International Film Festival on 19th August and released in UK cinemas on 20th August.