Socialist Worker

Menace and mystery in jumpy psychological horror The Night

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2748

Horror in a hotel room in The Night

Horror in a hotel room in The Night


The Night is a horror movie set largely in a small space with just a handful of characters. It focuses on a young Iranian couple living in the US with their baby.

After a visit to friends they leave to drive home, but strange directions from the car’s navigation system mean they get lost. It’s quickly obvious that they are seething at each other. After deciding to stay at the Hotel Normandie, the tension ratchets up.

The film slowly builds a sense of horror and it’s impressive that it keeps your interest even while not much seems to be happening.

The baby won’t sleep. Why not? Is it just that babies don’t sleep or is it because you can see the shadows of footsteps outside?

There are knocks on the door, and loud bangs come from the room above.

The concierge tells them about a series of disasters involving the deaths of children. And a visit from a cop ends up being terrifying. The film has plenty of genuinely jumpy moments and I spent much of the time watching it behind a cushion.

Some have drawn attention to similarities with Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. But for me, such comparisons got in the way of enjoying the film.

Any echoes of Kubrick felt grating, and I sometimes felt that the film was trying too hard. It’s also been described as a comment on the migrant experience in the US. Maybe the hotel is a metaphor for an unwelcoming country

But again, it feels a stretch to say The Night is some grand statement on immigration.

The film might actually have a problematic message—that the supposedly “immoral” practices of individuals cause all the world’s problems.

But if you want to watch a sinister film with lots of menace without worrying about “the message” then this is a good choice.

The Night is on digital and streaming platforms from Friday 2 April

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Reviews
Fri 26 Mar 2021, 16:11 GMT
Issue No. 2748
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