the night | kourosh ahari | milad jarmooz | shahab hosseini | niousha noor | george maguire | haunted | haunted house | ghost | ghosts | mystery | thriller | united states | iran | michael graham | elester latham | armin amiri | steph martinez | kathreen khavari | gia mora
Film: The Night
Director: Kourosh Ahari
Writer: Kourosh Ahari and Milad Jarmooz
Starring: Shahab Hosseini, Niousha Noor and George Maguire
This was a movie that I got turned on to thanks to Marknado. It was on his list of horror releases for 2021 and on top of that, he included it in the movies he really liked from January. I wanted a movie that had something to do with being haunted and when I glanced through the synopsis, I thought this fit with my pairing on Centennial Club. The synopsis here is an Iranian couple living in the US becomes trapped inside a hotel when insidious events force them to face the secrets that have come between them, in a night that never ends.
We start this movie off with a quote about multi-verses and that there is one true one. It then shifts us over to a group playing a game. We at first are given close-ups of each of them as a way to get to know them from what I gathered. Our main couple is Babak Naderi (Shahab Hosseini) and his wife of Neda (Niousha Noor). They are at the house of Farhad (Armin Amiri) and being joined by his wife and their friends. Farhad wants Babak to take a shot with him and this draws the annoyance of Neda. He does regardless and then I believe the two go to a room to smoke marijuana. It is getting late so Babak, Neda and their baby of Shabnam (Leah Oganyan) decide to head home.
Babak insists on driving despite having been drinking. It appears that Neda has a suspended license for driving without her insurance card. Their GPS starts messing up, drawing the attention of Babak and not necessarily where he is going. Something goes into the road where Neda tells her husband to watch out. When he gets out, he doesn’t see anything. It is decided that instead of continuing on, they are going to stay at a hotel. The closest one is an independent and older looking building.
As they go to head in, Neda gets spooked by a displaced man, Elester Latham. They are let into the hotel by the receptionist, George Maguire. He relays they only have one room available and it is a suite. Babak doesn’t care and agrees to take it. This couple’s night continues to get worse. Shabnam is having trouble going to sleep and in turn, so do her parents. They keep hearing knocks at the door and ones from the ceiling. Neda does see a young boy, Amir Ali Hosseini, but he disappears. Other times, there is no one there.
The couple tries to get to sleep, but no matter what they do, things continue to happen. These events also turn the couple against each other as they try to survive the night. Neda does encounter the displaced man again who tells her “they hear the truth, morning comes” in Farsi, their native language. What does this mean and can this couple figure it out before it is too late?
That’s where I’m going to leave my recap of this movie. What really intrigued me to check this out is that I don’t believe I’ve seen a movie from Iran, let alone a horror movie. I enjoy seeing movies from cultures that I’m not as familiar with, especially when it comes to horror films. Seeing what scares people or lore from their countries is interesting to me.
For this movie, we really are following this couple of Babak and Neda. They are hiding secrets from each other during their time apart, which is an element that I enjoy. They were separated for a stretch and it has had an effect on them. Having been in relationships and engaged to be married, you are constantly learning new things about your partner, both good and bad. I like that from the opening party, we can see there are some issues between with this couple. They know each other and they can get under each other’s skin pretty easy. We also get to know them as they lead up to their time in the hotel.
Babak left Neda in Iran. There were some questions to if he was going to return there or she was going to join him here in the United States. Something happened with this young woman that we are seeing. This does become an issue for me, as there are some questions I have as to who she is by the end of the movie. He does seem to have problems with drinking and smoking as well. There is also an inheritant cultural aspect where he commands his wife around, especially when it comes to the baby. I can be forgiving of that though. Neda also has a secret of her own. Something happened while he was away and she is living with it. This hotel is making them face their issues in order to survive. I do think she is a better person with how things play out in the end.
There is some social commentary here as well. There is a way to look at what is going on here that could be not supernatural. Nothing really happens until they get to the hotel room aside from Babak being under the influence and tired almost hitting something in the road while driving. Going from this, they could be sleep deprived. This would explain seeing things and going a bit crazy because of that. Their baby is doing what a baby does, not necessarily sleeping all that night through. I do feel that there is something supernatural going on here, but this is an alternative explanation.
For as much as I enjoy the story and trying to figure things out, I do have some problems here. This story feels like something we've seen before. I've even seen a movie from earlier this year that follows a similar premise. What would have worked better for me would be to lean a bit more into this entity that we see. There's this hooded figure that looks like it is in the form of a woman. I'm not sure if this is something from Iranian or Middle Eastern lore or not, so I'm not sure if natives of the area recognize it without needing the back-story. There also seems to be some aspects to the back-story of the characters that I think we needed a bit more of. I never really got bored, but with how long the movie runs there is a bit too much unexplained for me. I don't need everything, just more than what I got.
The next thing I'll move next to would be the acting. I think that this couple of Hosseini and Noor play well off each other. They seem like they have a history together where small things get under each other's skin. I can appreciate that as it brings a sense of realism. Hosseini seems like a character with some issues with drinking and the more we learn he comes off as irritable. We also get this interesting aspect to his character where he doesn't want to face his issues. Then on the other side, Noor is given to us in more of a positive light. She wants the best for her family, but she does have a guilty conscience about something from her past. Maguire adds a level of creepiness as this receptionist at the hotel, as does Latham and Michael Graham who is a police officer in this film. They are all solid. The rest of the cast rounds this out for what was needed in my opinion as well.
Then the last thing I want to go over would be the effects and soundtrack of the movie. Of the first one, we really don't get a lot of them. It also doesn't need it. What they like to do here would be using filters and the focus. There is also this really cool effect near the end of the movie that I know isn't too difficult to do, but it still gives me an uncomfortable vibe it gives me. That is something else I need to give credit for, this movie does well in building atmosphere. The soundtrack really helps there. It isn't one that stands out to me, but does what it needs to do. I also think that the sound design with a baby crying, a child calling out from different rooms or banging that works.
In conclusion, I enjoyed most of what this movie is doing. There is a good atmosphere here with the possible haunted hotel where these characters are faced with secrets from their past. The acting is really good and I think that is one of the strongest parts. I like the potential commentary on these newer parents and what the lack of sleep can do. The effects, soundtrack and design there do help with building what is needed. I do feel there are some things that aren't explored here that hurt the final product for me. I would say this is an above average movie for me, just lacking some of the things I've said here to go higher.
My Rating: 7 out of 10