The Night House Explained (Two Possible Explanations)

The Night House is a 2021 psychological horror film by David Bruckner. The plot follows a woman coping with the death of her husband as she begins experiencing paranormal events in her home. The cast has Rebecca Hall, Sarah Goldberg, Evan Jonigkeit and Stacy Martin. The movie is crafted very well and keeps you intrigued. There could potentially be two perspectives offered in the film, and I discuss them both. So, here’s the plot and ending of The Night House explained; spoilers ahead.

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Oh, and if this article doesn’t answer all of your questions, drop me a comment or an FB chat message, and I’ll get you the answerYou can find other film explanations using the search option on top of the site.

Contents

Here are links to the key aspects of the movie:

The Night House: Who or What is NOTHING?

NOTHING is Death. In the metaphorical sense, NOTHING is the void that a person experiences driving them to commit suicide. The movie can be viewed as a series of supernatural events or symbolic elements pointing towards depression. I prefer seeing it as a mix of both.

The Night House: What happened to Beth when she almost died?

Beth had an accident when she was 17 years old, and her heart stopped for 4 minutes. In that short span, Beth encountered nothing. NOTHING is later shown to be an entity that represents Death. But in reality, NOTHING could merely be that void that Beth experiences. We’ll talk about this more in detail.

Beth is known to suffer from depression, and she claims that her husband, Owen, kept her dark thoughts at bay. It’s hard to say if her near-death experience triggered it or if it was something else that caused her despair.

There are two ways to interpret The Night House; we’ll go over them one at a time.

The Night House Explained: The Supernatural Explanation

Ever since Beth’s encounter with NOTHING, it has wanted her back. It almost had Beth when she was 17, but she managed to give Death the slip. NOTHING was the reason for Beth’s dark thoughts and depression over the years, but Owen was her pillar of strength and kept her hinged. As a result, NOTHING was unable to sway her. NOTHING now began whispering to Owen to deliver Beth.

What were Owen’s Books about?

the night house occult voodoo books Owen

Owen’s books had to do with the occult and voodoo. He knew that NOTHING was influencing him to kill Beth, so he read up on luring away evil entities. The texts suggest that mirrored spaces and the Louvre Doll (the impaled voodoo clay figure) confuse the evil entity by putting it in a maze of sorts.

What was Owen doing with the girls?

Using his alternate mirrored house and the occult and voodoo texts, Owen brought girls who resembled Beth and killed them as an offering to NOTHING. Because of the alternate house set-up, NOTHING was getting tricked into thinking it was being delivered Beth. But this didn’t last. 

Who is Madelyne? Why does Owen kill himself?

Madelyne Night House

Madelyne is the last woman Owen made contact with and planned to kill but couldn’t do it. As Madelyne mentions, Owen took her to the other house where they kissed, and Owen held her throat a little too firm, but he released it when she asked him to. It appears that Owen was unable to keep up with his murders and also realized that NOTHING couldn’t be tricked forever. So he figures that if he kills himself, Beth would be safe; he figures wrongly.

Owen’s suicide note reads:

You were right.
There is NOTHING.
NOTHING is after you.
You’re safe now.

Beth once referred to her near-death experience as NOTHING. This is what Owen is referring to here, and hence I’ve put the word in CAPS.

Beth’s Discoveries

Owen’s suicide hurls Beth into depression and makes her highly vulnerable. The more she discovers Owen’s secrets, the darker her thoughts get. Beth finds and brings the voodoo doll back to her home from the mirrored house, making it easier for NOTHING to reach her. NOTHING whispers to Beth now and begins pushing her in the direction of suicide. Beth finds the dead bodies of the girls in Owen’s phone in the mirrored house and suspects her husband to have been a psychopath. 

Finally, Beth encounters NOTHING in her bathroom, who shows her what her husband was really up to. NOTHING takes on Owen’s form and reminds Beth that they first met when she almost died, and now she should come back to him.

The Night House Ending Explained

the ending scene the night house

NOTHING attempts to convince Beth that there is nothing worth living for. And that nobody alive matters anymore – like Claire, who’s calling out to Beth. Beth sits on the boat with a gun in her hand, being persuaded by NOTHING. Beth appears to be in a place between life and death, a limbo of sorts. Her friend Claire comes screaming for her. But finally, Beth overcomes the darkness and drops the gun. Claire brings Beth back to the pier.

The ending of The Night House shows that while Beth’s neighbour can’t see anything on the boat, Beth can still see NOTHING. NOTHING is going to feed on her depression, and she will have to fight it off all her life, but eventually, Death will come for her one day as it will for everybody. Until then, she’s going to have to find happiness and a reason to live.

Mel: There’s nothing there.
Beth: I know.

Mel is merely using the English word nothing and not referring to the entity. However, Beth sees NOTHING still and hence says, “I know”. 

The Night House: The Metaphorical Explanation

There is no evil entity. There is only depression.

We really don’t know what kind of people Beth and Owen were apart from what we hear from Claire and Mel. While on the surface, they might have been a lovely couple, they were each struggling with their own demons.

Owen’s Urges

Mel neighbour

Owen was perhaps a man who indulged too much in the Occult and Voodoo scriptures. He eventually started killing women by wooing them, taking them over to his night house, and dumping their bodies there. Mel once saw Owen walk past with a girl that resembled Beth and assumed that Owen was having an affair. Later that night, Owen showed up at Mel’s place drunk and covered in mud, claiming that he had “shameful urges” but has found a way to keep them at bay. It appears that Owen had just killed and buried one of his victims.

Eventually, Owen took Madelyn from the book store over to the house but could not kill her. He finally overcame his urge but also realized that he couldn’t live on like this. Considering he was killing women who resembled Beth, he might eventually end up killing her. So Owen kills himself, and now Beth is safe.

Beth’s Depression

Beth Depression in The Night House

We see the movie primarily from Beth’s perspective. Considering Beth has been fighting depression for a long time, Owen’s suicide has pushed her further into the depths of despair. Everything we see in the movie is a manifestation of her dark thoughts. There is no actual evil entity, and NOTHING is merely the void in her head – nothing worth living for. Beth is pushed to her limits and opts for suicide just like Owen. But she’s unable to go through with it. Some part of her realizes that there are people who still love her, and it is not all lost.

The meaning of The Night House is that the dark shadow on the boat (that only Beth can see) is her depression. Just like all the other supernatural manifestations, this too her how her mind is making it real. There is no ghost. She is not free from depression and will never fully be but has to find ways to fight it and cope with it.

The only issue with this interpretation is that Owen’s suicide note doesn’t really make sense. 

You were right.
There is nothing.
Nothing is after you.
You’re safe now.

What does he mean by “nothing” here? The note doesn’t make sense if it were all metaphorical.

What are your thoughts on the plot and ending of The Night House? Do leave your comments below.

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