THE NIGHT (2020) Reviews and overview

 

‘It never ends’

The Night is a 2020 horror feature film about an Iranian husband, wife and their child that become trapped inside an American hotel. Insidious events force them to face the secrets that have come between them and the night never ends…

Directed and edited by Kourosh Ahari (Generations; Yellow Wallpaper) from a screenplay co-written with Milad Jarmooz, based on the latter’s storyline, the American-Iranian movie stars Shahab Hosseini, Niousha Jafarian, Leah Oganyan and George Maguire.

Reviews:

” …the film is more concerned with telling the story of the couple. This makes for an all-consuming terror that can come from any direction. There is a deeper meaning to some of what is going on, but the main purpose of the movie is to terrify its audience. The Night delivers classic scares underscored with social commentary.” AIPT

“Viewers wanting a pinpointed explanation for what’s happening in the hotel and how it’s happening may be slightly disappointed. The Night expects us to accept its premise at face value […] Taken at its own level, though, The Night still succeeds in providing intelligent chills. The movie’s last shot is particularly eerie, ensuring that you continue to think about this story after it’s over.” The Aisle Seat

“Together Ahari and Jarmooz deliver a tense plot, although the mythos leaves a bit to be desired […] Luckily the focus is more on the secrets and ghostly manifestations of those secrets, which makes it easier to overlook some of the flaws. The suspenseful film is helped by great performances from Hosseini and Jafarian, as well as the creepy hotel setting.” The Blogging Banshee!

“While The Night favors simplicity and doesn’t entirely reinvent the wheel, the heavily stylized, mind-bending slow burn never ceases to be engaging. Ahari adds a refreshing new perspective to a familiar set up and leaves room to parse out added layers upon repeat viewings.” Bloody Disgusting

“While The Night never reaches the dizzying heights of The Shining, a movie that’s even half as good as Kubrick’s is still a great film, and Ahari’s directorial outing is surely that. As cerebral and mind-bending as they come, The Night is a disturbing trip into the surreal, the unknown and the frighteningly real.” Clapper

” …though the secrets themselves are actually shocking for the characters, they’re unfortunately a little too predictable for genre enthusiasts and more attentive viewers. Despite this, however, the performances from Shahab Hosseini and Kathreen Khavari are truly powerful and the atmosphere and pacing is very well-executed, with an ending sure to leave audiences’ jaw dropped.” Coming Soon

“Since the movie emphasizes mood, the mystery’s thinness doesn’t hurt The Night like it would a more fiction-focused film. Nevertheless, The Night doesn’t end up as a consistently fascinating supernatural chiller, although it’s a far cry from a ho-hum haunter too. Noises from above and knocks at the door when no one is there can only take a horror movie so far…” Culture Crypt

“You don’t need a crazy effects budget to tell a story that relies on suspense and atmosphere, as so much of this story does. Between the events occurring throughout the night to seeing Babak and Neda’s increasingly tense reactions, it’s easy to find yourself in the same headspace as these characters: frightened, confused, and with no idea how the situation will resolve.” Daily Dead

“Wow. This movie has kept us up at night still thinking about what happened and what it all means, not to mention we’re keeping all the lights on. The psychological thriller is full of suspense and is guaranteed to make you jump.” Edhat

“It never veers into the profane or violent really, instead crafting a masterful feeling of suspense throughout as you root for, and against, the two protagonists. Sure it slows down in between paranoia sequences but those moments, while slow, feel important as the camera/lighting/ sound all deliver on a powerful sentiment: angst.” Films Gone Wild

“What makes the film work as well as it does is the psychological underpinning of the frequently surreal events that prove to stem from the couple’s interpersonal conflicts. An emotionally devastating revelation delivered by one of the main characters late in the film proves key to what is transpiring, although the disturbing final sequence raises as many questions as it answers.” The Hollywood Reporter

” …The Night evokes the pain and agony that stems from denial stronger than any film that has tried to achieve it since. Unbeknownst to Babak and Neda, the horror hotel they’ve checked themselves into will not be letting them leave or sleep peacefully through the night. At least not until they communicate whatever dark secret they are hiding from each other.” Horror Obsessive

The Night is an outstanding debut from Ahari, a stylish and substantial thriller that features both beautiful imagery and a compelling, intelligently structured story that draws you in and holds on to you until the very end. Destined to be a festival favorite, one can only hope that an indie distributor picks this film up and it reaches the audiences it so richly deserves.” The Independent Critic

“Ahari and co-screenwriter Milad Jarmooz will not shock experienced genre fans with their third act revelations, but they should definitely be impressed by the eerily entrancing look and vibe of the film. Indeed, the ominously striking work of cinematographer Maz Makhani transcends category and provides the bedrock foundation of every scary moment. Very highly recommended…” J.B. Spins

“Some of the puzzle pieces come together succinctly while others remain a bit amorphous and make for some of the film’s less satisfying moments […] While ending a film like The Night can be tricky, Ahari and co. pull out just enough stops to make it work. Anchored by Noor’s incredible performance and Hosseini’s beleaguered horror and confusion, The Night gives an old trope a new skin—namely, yours.” Killer Horror Critic

” …a combination of the convincingly freaked out and paranoid performances of Hosseini and Jafarian, and Ahari’s ability to generate scares in simple old-school fashion, shunning CG effects and an overbearing score. In fact, there’s almost no onscreen horror here, with noises in the dark and the petrified faces of Hosseini and Jafarian working overtime to convince us that the relatively ambiguous Hotel Normandie might be a portal to Hell.” The Movie Waffler

“This film is all atmosphere. All dark rooms and shadows. All about not being able to leave. Things flitting about. Strange noises. All adding up to get your heart racing and stomach in a knot. A bit like pulling a loose thread on a sweater, the story unravels here a bit at a time…” OrcaSound

“Beautifully lush cinematography (including some early haunting POV shots) props up the richness of The Night. The score adds a layer or jarring dread that is simply gorgeous. While the script skillfully utilizes a number of classic tropes, it is also stacked with a multitude of original imagery that unnerves the viewer from the very beginning. I was thrown for a loop more times than I can count.” Reel News Daily

“Though I could more or less guess every twist prior to them materializing onscreen, Ahari’s picture still managed to unnerve me with its remarkable evocation of Kubrickian horror, an aesthetic that has eluded countless imitators, including last year’s Doctor Sleep.” RogerEbert.com

“The director, Ahari, handles this movie like a magic trick. Revealing just enough information with narrative sleights-of-hand, sometimes giving you two important pieces of information at once. It isn’t until you unravel one of the puzzles until you understand the significant of the curious details from an earlier scene.” The Scariest Things

“Kudos to director Kourosh Ahari for making a sweet little thriller. A creepy uneasy tale, the film uses silences and shadows to great effect. It also uses the fact that the film is a mix of English and Persian to further ratchet up the suspense […] when you get a chance to see The Night do so.” Unseen Films

” …this predominantly Farsi-language production sneaks up on viewers and delivers a knockout final act. Ahari’s impressive feature debut is sure to satisfy genre fans and has the emotional heft and classy production values to attract discerning general audiences.” Variety

Release:

The Night premiered at the Santa Barbara Film Festival before showings at Fajr, Sitges, Cinequest and the Nightstream film festivals.

In the USA, Mammoth Pics will release The Night theatrically and On-Demand on January 29th 2021.

Background:

The Night went into production in the US in 2018, at the onset of Trump’s Iran sanctions imposition, employing a diverse cast and crew made up of predominantly Iranian immigrants or US-born Iranian-Americans. All department heads leading the production, from production through post, are Iranian or of Iranian descent. The Night employed Iranians in leadership roles in all key creative positions above and below the line, both lead acting roles while being US-produced.”

Cast and characters:

Shahab Hosseini … Babak Naderi
Niousha Jafarian … Neda Naderi
Leah Oganyan … Shabnam Naderi
George Maguire … Hotel Receptionist
Gia Mora … Sara
Michael Graham … Police Officer
Elester Latham … Displaced Man
Steph Martinez … Sophia (voice)
Armin Mehr … Farhad
Hana Rahimzadeh … Mani
Sam Tarazandehpour … Barbod
Cara Fuqua … Woman in Black
Amir Ali Hosseini … Young Boy
Ali Kousheshi … Mohsen
Golbarg Khavari … Elahe
Boshra Haghighi … Woman in Black
Lily V.K. … Sophia

Technical details:

105 minutes

Original title:

An Shab

Trailer:

Clip:

YouTube reviews:

Related:

THE SHINING (1980) Reviews and recommended

MOVIES and MANIA comment and rating:

Despite a generally creepy vibe, The Night (what an uninspiring, unmemorable title) is somewhat overlong and predictable, with only one effective scare amidst all the marital strife and wandering about in the dark.