The haunted hotel genre is one that has been rarely explored since it has been all but dominated from the start by The Shining. There have been attempts by big studios with films like 1408, as well as attempts by more indie studios with The Inn Keepers, but they all have trouble catching the same magic. The Night sees another couple find their way into a mysterious hotel that wants to bring their secrets to the surface or be trapped there forever.
After a night with friends and a bit too much to drink Babak and his wife Neda decide to go home with their baby. After the GPS begins to act up and they think they hit a cat with their car, they decide to stay at a nearby hotel. Though it appears strange and creepy at first they decide to settle in and go to bed for the night. Their sleep is interrupted though, by strange sounds, a boy looking for his mother, and loud knocks at their door. Thing only get worse as they begin to see things, haunting horrifying things that want themselves to be known.
What makes The Shining such a strong movie is that the characters are well developed before they even get to the haunted hotel. The characters in The Night have some brief character development but for the most part, they are just thrust into the horror of the situation. The idea was to develop the characters and figure out who they are as the story progresses but even then the audience is given very little to go off of. Instead, it feels like we are just watching two strangers wander through a haunted house, all the while giving us no reason to care about them. There is sympathy for two people stuck in a bad situation but that can only take you so far.
While the introduction and the body of the film could hint at what is to come for the couple, nothing is ever really developed in the story. Yes, there are spooky moments and things that feel like they will factor in later, but they never do. The film doesn’t hit its main point until more than halfway through the film, leaving the audience with far too much downtime. While the scary moments are very surprising, all be them predictable, if you are looking for a strong story this is not the movie for you.
While it is good for films to keep smaller genres under the horror umbrella alive, The Night doesn’t feel like it is bringing anything unique or new to the table. Disassemble and put together a few different horror movies and you have everything that this film has to offer. With a more developed story and characters, this could have been a film that was fantastic and very scary but instead, it feels generic and forgettable. You could do a lot worse for your first hotel horror movie but there is plenty out there that are a lot better.
5 out of 10