It Comes At Night

"Excellent"

It Comes At Night Review


This sharply original horror film not only approaches its premise from an unexpected angle, but it creates characters who add a psychological depth that makes the film far more involving than expected. And scarier too. Writer-director Trey Edward Shults is doing a lot more than just frightening the audience with an enigmatic post-apocalyptic story, he's also provoking thought with some seriously intriguing subtext.

It's set in an isolated farmhouse that's been boarded-up to fend off the chaos outside, where a grisly disease has swept across America, killing everyone who contracts it. After his father-in-law (David Pendleton) dies from the illness, Paul (Joel Edgerton) is desperately trying to protect his wife Sarah (Carmen Ejogo) and 17-year-old son Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr.). So when a stranger, Will (Christopher Abbott), turns up, he reacts harshly. But Will tells him that he's only looking for supplies to help his wife Kim (Riley Keough) and their young son Andrew (Griffin Robert Faulkner). Hesitantly, Paul and Sarah bring this family into their home. But the layers of mistrust grow between them, always with the added tinge of terror that one of them might be infected with this extremely contagious disease.

The story is told through Travis' eyes, as he watches and listens to the unsettling paranoia creeping up around him. This includes his freaky nightly dreams, followed by roaming alone though the pitch-black house. All of the actors are terrific at capturing the earthier edges of their characters, with moments of humour and compassion contrasting against their darker suspicions. Harrison adeptly provides the audience with an entry point into this situation, while Edgerton anchors the movie as a man so consumed by his fear that he's not quite in control of his actions. Everyone tries to talk some sense, but for him this only makes them less trustworthy. Each of the actors stirs some suggestive ambiguity into his or her performance, making the audience wonder as well.

Shults' writing and direction playfully circle around our expectations, finding heroes and villains in surprising places. It's strikingly shot and edited to create the maximum sense of dread, with both proper jolts and big emotional moments along the way. Shadows loom everywhere, as the forest seems to hold no end of threats for these fragile, frightened people. And while this entire movie can be read as a kind of meta-parable about immigration, it also works on its own claustrophobic terms as a portrait of six people trying to hold together against a nasty threat lurking in the woods.

Watch the trailer and clips for It Comes At Night:



Facts and Figures

Genre: Horror/Suspense

Budget: $5M

Production compaines: Animal Kingdom, A24

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Trey Edward Shults

Producer: David Kaplan, Andrea Roa

Starring: as Paul, as Will, as Sarah, Kelvin Harrison as Travis, as Kim, Griffin Robert Faulkner as Andrew, David Pendleton as Bud, Chase Joliet as Man #2, Mick O'Rourke as Man #1, Mikey as Stanley

Contactmusic


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