Rebecca Hall Required A Massive Change To The Night House Before Signing On To The Excellent Horror Film

Rebecca Hall in The Night House

As audiences will discover this weekend, director David Bruckner’s new film The Night House is easily one of the best horror movies of 2021. It’s both captivating and ceaselessly unnerving as it successfully unwinds a creepy mystery that ultimately satisfies with a smart and haunting conclusion. Rebecca Hall additionally gives one of the best performances of her career – but it turns out that wasn’t her only massive contribution to the production. She also had a major influence on the fantastic ending, as one of the stipulations before she signed on was that the filmmakers had to change what had originally existed in the script.

I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Rebecca Hall last week during the virtual press day for The Night House, and one of the most interesting things we discussed was about the evolution of the ending (which, I should note, I will not be spoiling in this article). Discussing the movie’s third act, I asked about her reaction when she discovered the shocking denouement in her first read of the script by Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski – and she surprised me by explaining how what we see in the film wasn’t in that draft. Said Hall,

I didn't read that ending in the script, actually; it had a different ending when I read it. One of my stipulations about doing it was that they had to change the ending... I don't think I can tell [what the original ending was], I don't think I can reveal that without probably getting in trouble. I'm sure if you asked David [Bruckner], he'd probably tell you, but I feel it's not my position to, so I don't want it (laughs).

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In The Night House, Rebecca Hall stars as Beth – a high school teacher whom audiences meet in the wake of her husband’s (Evan Jonigkeit) shocking and sudden death. She struggles to deal with the loss, living alone in the lake house that her late spouse built, and things only get harder when mysterious events start happening during the night. Beth begins to investigate these supernatural happenings, but doing so opens a door to discovering a whole other life that she had no idea her other half was living.

Despite my asking, Rebecca Hall wouldn’t reveal what was different about the way things played out in the earliest drafts of the script, but her basic explanation for why she didn’t like it is that it evidently didn’t feel like it provided the central mystery in the story with a worthy conclusion. Fortunately, the filmmakers were apparently not only willing to acquiesce in order to bring her aboard, but also agreed with her opinion. She explained,

Everything about it was great apart from the ending. And I was like, 'I'll do it if you change this.' Because I found the original ending as it was written quite unsatisfactory, I just didn't think it really works. And they all agreed with me, thank goodness.

Hopefully you’re now sufficiently teased about what The Night House has in store, and are now amped up to go check it out this weekend. Also co-starring Sarah Goldberg, Stacy Martin, and Vondie Curtis-Hall, the film arrives in theaters this Friday, August 20.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.