It Comes At Night
review by Bobby Blakey
It is always refreshing to see something great come out of the horror world. The word on the street is that the latest It Comes At Night offers up something truly special to the genre. The film stars Joel Edgerton, Riley Keough, Christopher Abbott, Carmen Ejogo and Kelvin Harrison Jr with writer/director Trey Edward Shults at the helm, but does it bring something terrifyingly new to the table or should they have kept the door shut?
It Comes At Night follows a man secure within a desolate home as an unnatural threat terrorizes the world and the tenuous domestic order he has established with his wife and son is put to the ultimate test with the arrival of a desperate young family seeking refuge. Despite the best intentions of both families, paranoia and mistrust boil over as the horrors outside creep ever-closer, awakening something hidden and monstrous within him as he learns that the protection of his family comes at the cost of his soul. Let’s start this review off by saying the title itself is a bit misleading as is the promotional trailers. This film is billed as a horror film, but really plays up more as a slow burn psychological thriller. There is so much to love here, but equally so much that is frustrating that it will be one of those films that will likely be split down the middle of love and hate.
Everyone in the cast do an amazing job bringing all sorts of emotion, paranoia and overall depth to what could have been very simple characters. Everyone here had moments to shine in this gritty tonal world that never offers any sign of real hope or a happy ending. Visually this film is amazing with so many great uses of lighting and shapes inside the house. They have crafted a character in itself using lanterns and flashlights for much of the film that gives the proper tone to the suspense of it all without feeling gimmicky like it could have. The numerous long shots build some tension that really adds to what they are trying to accomplish. The story itself is engaging as you never really know what caused what has happened to the world and you don’t need to know. What you are seeing is this one families fight to survive and all should have worked, but it’s the different aspects of the story that will be a big struggle for some.
There are a lot of elements of the story that is built up but then left unresolved, but it appears it is by design in hopes to keep the viewer guessing and unnerved. When I finished watching this film I wasn’t really sure how I felt about it. I loved the concept and execution but these unresolved and often implied moments left me bewildered. After sitting with it I found myself more engaged in thinking about it and coming to numerous conclusions of my own which I believe is the intent. There is a lot of reviews out there claiming how terrifying this film is, but from a traditional aspect that is completely untrue, but if you think about the realism of it all then it could really mess with your brain. There aren’t any gory moments to speak of, but there is a sequence near the end of the film that might leave some uncomfortable, but is meant to.
The film only runs around an hour and a half, but the slow pacing might leave some struggling to get through it. This is a film that is not for the average movie goer who will likely be left confused and unsatisfied upon its completion, but if you can understand the numerous undertones and social commentary it really is a brilliantly executed film. If you decide to give this film a shot just understand that you have to invest in the storytelling and be willing to not get all the answers handed to you and use your brain to come to a lot of your own conclusions.
This release not only includes the film, but also the “Human Nature: Creating It Comes at Night” Featurette that takes you further behind bringing this unique film to life. Grab your copy of It Comes At Night available now on Digital HD, Blu-ray and DVD from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.