Directed by Kourosh Ahari, The Night is an Iranian horror/mystery film that skillfully confronts cultural stereotypes while simultaneously subverting the tropes of the often overdone “hotel” horror sub-genre. Aside from minor pacing issues this was an impressively complex film that is genuinely haunting. An Iranian couple living in the US become trapped inside a hotel when insidious events force them to face the secrets that have come between them, in a night that never ends.

There is a true singular sleekness achieved.

Firstly, The Shining this is not, and going into this film expecting a cultural reinterpretation will be discrediting what this film actually does. Starting with a very a-typical game night we learn through subtle cues that there is preexisting tension between our main couple. Both Hosseini and Jafarian give layered performances and really have to be commended for maintaining the believability of the relationship.

The characters are inherently relatable, and we are skillfully lead by them into our main setting: the Hotel Normandie. The DP utilized the angular quality of the hotel quite well, but I found the music choice/audio elements truly the most unsettling. Especially as they begin to work in tandem with the amping chaotic filming style in the final act, there is a true singular sleekness achieved.

The Shining, this is not.

The film takes an unexpected direction in its final act, and, despite a predictable ending, the resolution nevertheless fit with the overall tone stylistically. The best part of this experience was seeing just how delicate and intricately conceived the scares were, and how they drove the couple to a brutal confrontation. This build up of intelligent tension makes the truth of what is happening all the more terrifying and inescapable. This being Ahari’s debut feature, it certainly makes him one to watch out for, this is a stunning film from start to finish to start again. It never ends.

IFC will be releasing to release The Night on January 29th, we hope you enjoy your stay at Hotel Normandie.