Hotels have proved a fertile stopping-off point for psychological horrors over the years (come on, you know what I’m talking about) and nestling in very neatly with that cluster comes The Night, an Iranian-American co-production that ticks all the right boxes.

A startling debut feature from writer/director Kourosh Ahari, this one grips from the get-go, trapping the viewer in a vice of palpable dread as the story unravels.

Opening at a family dinner party, the film closes in on husband and wife Babak (Shahab Hosseini) and Neda (Niousha Noor).

Leaving the party with their one-year-old daughter Shabnam, a bout of bickering – and some dodgy GPS – sees the couple elect to stop at a hotel, giving Babak the chance to sleep off the alcohol and get to grips with a raging toothache that is giving him grief.

The family quickly come to realise though that this may not be any ordinary hotel – for starters they appear to be the only guests there and the receptionist is certainly a bit odd.

No big deal though, but things go from bad to worse when Babak starts to have visions of women standing in his room or children running the corridors – and that is just the start.

Are these visions real? Just what is going on at the hotel? And what does it have to do with the new matching tattoos the husband and wife have?

Perfectly pitched by writer/director Ahari, the subtext here is that the couple share as many secrets as the hotel itself and sharing those secrets may be the only way out.

Simplistic it may be, but that also proves to be one of the film’s many strengths – a stripped down, fat free chiller that aims to serve up scares and delivers in spades.

Dimly lit, with the tension escalating by the second, The Night also scores by having Babak and Neda act pretty much like any ‘real’ people would do – they attempt to leave, call the police and more, all the while falling further and further into the mire.

Of course none of this would really work if the leads could not carry the film and both Hosseini and Noor are immaculate, the audience sharing their dread as revelation and realisation piles on.

The star here though is Ahari, who has conjured up a real spine-tingler that mixes jump scares with very adult fears, and it will be extremely interesting to see what he does next.

Brutally effective, genuinely unsettling and downright creepy at times, The Night proves a claustrophobic treat.

The Night is now available via digital platforms

Movie Review: The Night
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About The Author

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Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle