Even after starring in David Bruckner’s horror film The Night House, Rebecca Hall cannot be entirely convinced of the existence of ghosts.
“I’m a bit of an empiricist. So, until I have hard evidence in front of me, I tend not to believe one way or another so, I just don’t know,” says Rebecca Hall, who shot this psychological horror film on location in Skaneateles Lake in upstate New York.
She plays the newly-widowed Beth, who is left alone with her nightmares and ghostly visions at the lakeside home her late husband built for her. As supernatural forces begin to warp the architecture of her home in frightening ways, she embarks on a mission to solve the mystery of who her husband really was…
While there are a handful of supporting characters, Rebecca Hall is front and centre of this disturbing story as she pieces together the puzzle. But don’t imagine she’s a damsel in distress, waiting to be rescued from her haunted house.
“It is unthinkably complicated and hard. In Beth’s case she is left to wonder if she ever knew the man she was married to. It takes that idea and pushes it to extremes,” says Hall.
“Ultimately, the film is about watching a woman come to terms with something life-destroying and working out how to accept it, let it go and survive it.
“Something that certainly drew me to the character is that she’s being haunted but is witty and dangerous and you don’t sit there going, ‘Get out of the house!’ Because she’s saying, ‘This is my house. Come and get me. Come on!,’” says the talented British actress whose previous films include Iron Man 3, The Gift and, most recently, Godzilla vs. Kong.
Based on a script by Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski, The Night House tackles themes of grief, depression, self-destruction, and the sacredness of relationships.
“The film explores the many ways we affect one another in a relationship; how vulnerable we can be to each other’s demons and the facades we maintain,” says director David Bruckner, who made his directorial debut with the survivalist horror The Ritual in 2017.
When Collins and Piotrowski began the script, they were initially inspired by the main character’s specific circumstances.
“The story explores the universal themes of mortality and the afterlife, whether you can ever truly know someone, the tendency people have toward darkness and self-destructive behaviour, depression, anxiety,” says Collins.
Having starred in The Awakening in 2012, The Night House represents Hall’s first horror film in a decade, and she was keen to brush up on the genre.
“I revisited favourites like The Haunting, The Shining and Rosemary’s Baby and all those classics with the theme of a central character spiraling and losing their mind, which is quite prevalent in the horror genre.”
Press Hall for any haunted house stories, and she still can’t commit. “I feel terribly boring that I don’t have any good anecdotes, even though I have been in a lot of old houses in my time,” she teases. “I have certainly been in places where I’ve been told there were ghosts.
“The closest I got I was shooting something in Massachusetts, where I was staying in an incredibly old hotel and I’d been told that it was haunted from Civil War-era things. I woke up one morning to a lot of oldie-timey marching and horns, and immediately thought, ‘This is it. This is the ghost! And then, I looked out my window and there was a huge Civil War reenactment going on,” she laughs.
The Night House is in cinemas now (where open).