Look, between David Bruckner’s new supernatural thriller The Night House and Sean Durkin’s unsettling psychological character study Martha Marcy May Marlene, I think I’m all set on ever visiting the Catskills. But while Durkin used the environment to set a mood with just a dash of horror, Bruckner’s effort is much easier placed within the genre’s safe zones. And there are many other horror films that it will make you remember. Set in the idyllic lakeside of the New York woodlands, The Night House has terror lurking just beneath its beautiful surface, and delivers some spunky atmospherics that diminish the basicness of some of its genre conventions.Continue reading “In Review: The Night House”
This year brings two widely dissimilar studies on Christine Chubbuck, the local Florida television journalist that committed suicide on live television – the documentary Kate Plays Christine and Antonio Campos’s considerably more traditional Christine. In the narrative version, Rebecca Hall plays the disturbed Chubbuck in the weeks leading up to the mythologized event and her news station cohorts (played by Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts, and Maria Dizzia plus others) take a deeper part in her story. The two films create interesting dynamic in contrast unlike similar competing films close in release (think Capote and the less successful Infamous), illuminating both the subject and the larger societal implications of her case when seen in close proximity.
This Christine belongs mostly to Rebecca Hall’s stunning and alive performance, with challenges unlike anything the actress has ever been granted. Hall possesses a gallows humor underneath her pain that is unexpected and quite effective in helping portray Chubbuck as a flesh and blood human being as the film doubles down on her enveloping psychosis. Equally impressive is her ability to play the woman’s nuance and more unhinged moments with a cohesiveness that the script doesn’t always achieve. As heartbreaking as it is terrifying, Hall just delivered a career high performance that will rattle you.