The Night (2021) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

The Night (2021) Review

Horrorific content by Christina Dee on February 22nd, 2021 | Movie Review | Haunted, Psychological, Dysfunctional Family

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An Iranian couple living in the US become trapped inside a hotel when insidious events force them to face the secrets that have come between them, in a night that never ends.

The Night was directed by Kourosh Ahari and stars Shahab Hosseini, Kathreen Khavari and Elester Latham.

It Never Ends

The Night Review

If you're a sucker for a solid haunted hotel story, a good foreign-language horror film, or both, then you might want to consider adding The Night to your must-see list. It's not only Kourosh Ahari's Farsi-language directorial debut but also the first American-produced film to receive an Iranian release since the 1979 revolution.

The Night is the story of an ex-pat Iranian couple who find themselves spending a seemingly endless night trapped in an otherworldly hotel. It stars Shahab Hosseini, Niousha Jafarian, Elester Latham, and George Maguire. The film also features many callbacks and homages to classic horror movies with similar themes, including The Shining.

The film opens on married couple Babak and Neda (played by Hosseini and Jafarian, respectively) at a Los Angeles dinner party they're attending with several of their friends. As the night's activities wear on and the couple interacts with one another, it quickly becomes crystal clear that their marriage is anything but perfect.

Eventually, the evening draws to a close. Babak and Neda gather their one-year-old daughter and prepare to drive home. However, getting home naturally isn't going to be quite that simple. Not only does Babak have a toothache, but he's also quite drunk. When the couple's GPS also mysteriously isn't working correctly, they decide to spend the night at a nearby hotel and continue their journey in the morning.

Of course, the Hotel Normandie turns out to be anything but ordinary, which becomes apparent from the moment the family steps onto the premises. For instance, they pass a strange, babbling homeless man (Latham) on their way into the hotel. They're also greeted by an ominous desk clerk (Maguire) once inside. Things don't get much better once they've checked in, either.

There are plenty of things going bump in the night here, and it eventually turns out that the hotel has a twisted past. Some strange, supernatural force also appears to be bringing to light the many secrets both Babak and Neda have kept hidden throughout their troubled marriage.

The Night isn't a big-budget film, but that's not something you'll be aware of as a viewer. Ahari proves that he can make a significant impact with very little, steeping his film in atmosphere, suspense, and tension. Top-notch performances -- especially from Hosseini and Jafarian as the two leads -- round things out nicely and keep the film engaging. George Maguire also deserves a shout-out. His role is minor and his actual screen time limited, but he makes a massive impression while he is on screen, adding much to the creep factor of the mysterious hotel.

Cinematography by Maz Makhani and score by Nima Fakhrara work in perfect harmony with the on-screen talent and set, amplifying the eerie atmosphere of the Hotel Normandie. The result is a nagging impression that no hallway, corner, or room here is safe. Something frightening could occur at any moment, and absolutely anything could be lurking in the shadows. When you do eventually see them, jump scares and visual effects are used wisely for maximum impact.

Worth Watching?

The only real weak point in The Night is that the plotline doesn't always hold up to close examination. Some key elements – like the mysterious malfunction of the family's GPS unit -- occur for what honestly seems like no reason. It's also easier than some viewers might like to unravel the mystery behind the Hotel Normandie and figure out precisely what Babak and Neda have to do with the events they witness. This film's strong points far outstrip its weaknesses, though, so it is worth checking out.

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