The Night (Horror, Thriller) (2020)
Director: Kourosh Ahari
Writer: Kourosh Ahari, Milad Jarmooz
Stars: Shahab Hosseini, Niousha Noor, George Maguire, Armin Amiri
Returning home after having dinner with family, Babak (Shahab Hosseini) and his wife Neda (Niousha Noor) decide to take a pitstop at the nearest hotel. Their visit turns unexpectedly restless as they have to face supernatural circumstances brought upon them by a curse.
As only the third feature-length film by director Kourosh Ahari ‘’The Night’’ is an Iranian/American psychological horror capitalizing its mystery and eerie encounters.
Without any further inclination to showcase a larger plot, ‘’The Night’’ opens with a family visit, having some food, laughs and serious discussions about work and relationships. Despite its simplicity, it is a smoothly done introduction to the characters and what we can expect from their motivations throughout the rest of the film. As the characters split paths, it becomes clear we’re left with Babak, Neda and their new-born child. Throughout the night, Babak has been complaining about a toothache having some alcohol to numb the pain to the annoyance of his wife Neda; that’s the reason she tells him to find a hotel to retire for the night and continue the journey home the next day. From the moment they at a nearby hotel arrive, strange things are happening. Things seem off, from a prophetic homeless man approaching them in a haze to the hotel clerk’s odd behaviour.
Even just spending a short amount of time in what would end up as the film’s primary location, it had a good vibe. Some moments are comparable to budget films, but overall it’s surprising enough to keep the viewer engaged without keeping them on a leash. Following the opening act with the steady increase of psychological horror, ‘’The Night’’ works better than the majority of horror I’ve seen in the last few years, interconnecting some parts of the story you’d think were unrelated and surrounding the characters with uncanny events without pointing them out too much. The tension is almost like darkness closing in, making both the viewer and cast wearier by the second.
The classic setting of a large hotel acts as it should even if the curse angle it takes could be seen as somewhat predictable with tattoos appearing on the couple’s arms and the hotel clerk being a little over the top, but these events still make you wonder where it goes next leaving some shocking events for later on. With minimal use of an ambient soundtrack, most things fall into place, not relying on horror clichés such as jump scares and scary faces while creeping towards an open ending with excellent narrative camera use opening you up to exactly what you need to see, and nothing more.
Enough to make you restless for one night.