Arts

Also released: Spine-chilling psychological horror The Night House and animated spin-off PAW Patrol: The Movie

Damon Smith

The Night House: Sarah Goldberg as Claire

THE NIGHT HOUSE (Cert 15, 107 mins, streaming from October 27 exclusively on Disney+, Horror/Thriller/Romance) Starring: Rebecca Hall, Sarah Goldberg, Evan Jonigkeit, Vondie Curtis Hall.

SCHOOLTEACHER Beth (Rebecca Hall) is devastated when her architect husband Owen (Evan Jonigkeit) takes his own life with a handgun while sitting in a rowing boat, floating close to the lake house he built for them.

Beside his body is a cryptic handwritten note: "You were right. There is nothing. Nothing is after you. You're safe now."

Copious glasses of alcohol numb Beth's grief, causing concern for friend and work colleague Claire (Sarah Goldberg) and neighbour Mel (Vondie Curtis Hall).

During her fitful sleeping hours, Beth experiences strange visions that suggest she could be losing her mind in the midst of despair.

Or perhaps there is a ghostly presence in the home, trying to make contact from an astral plane.

The Night House is a twisted psychological horror, which plays mind games with a widow at her lowest ebb and gently tightens the thumbscrews on us too.

David Bruckner's film send chills down the spine for the first hour, while our feverish imaginations are permitted to fill in the script's intentional blanks.

Once co-writers Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski reveal their devilish narrative floorplan, it's a bumpy final push to the grave, or salvation.

A powerhouse central performance from London-born actress Hall is a constant source of wonder, including one stunning unbroken shot of her emotional breakdown in juddering, gut-wrenching close-up.

She approaches the full-throttle ferocity of Toni Collette in Hereditary.

Even when the script isn't wholly convincing, Hall is, terror etched across her tear-stained features as she puts her character through the emotional wringer with sadistic fervour.

Rating: 3/5

PAW Patrol: The Movie

PAW PATROL: THE MOVIE (Cert U, 86 mins, Paramount Home Entertainment, Animation/Action/Adventure, available from October 27 on Amazon Prime Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, available from November 1 on DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £24.99)

RYDER (voiced by Will Brisbin) and his canine crew – police dog Chase (Iain Armitage), firefighter dog Marshall (Kingsley Marshall), recycling dog Rocky (Callum Shoniker), construction dog Rubble (Keegan Hedley), air rescue dog Skye (Lilly Bartlam) and aquatic rescue dog Zuma (Shayle Simons) – are dismayed to learn that Humdinger (Ron Pardo) has been elected mayor of Adventure City.

The newly-elected official introduces sweeping changes, including three loop-the-loops on the city's train system.
Disaster looms and Ryder and the gang enter the fray, aided by plucky dachshund Liberty (Marsai Martin), from their shiny new headquarters, financed by profits from officially licensed PAW Patrol merchandise.

"This stuff sells like hot cakes," quips Ryder to nods from parents at home.

PAW Patrol: The Movie is an enjoyable feature-length outing for the computer-animated TV series for pre-schoolers, which should wag the tail of its ardent fanbase to repeated blasts of a catchy theme tune that reminds us "No job's too big, No pup's too small".

Animation holds up to scrutiny including high-tempo action sequences, while the voice cast deliver wholesome life lessons and howls on cue.

Directed at speed by Cal Brunker, the film doesn't get its lead in a knot with a complicated plot or subtle character development. The script, co-written by Brunker, Billy Frolick and Bob Barlen, remains cheerfully upbeat and distils easily digestible lessons about courage and self-belief without coming across as heavy-pawed preaching.

Rating: 3/5

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