“It Comes At Night” Is A Moody Psychological Thriller That Will Appeal To A Specific Audience



Title: It Comes At Night
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Posted June 16, 2017 by

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A24 has carved out a niche of delivering films that rely heavier on their message and symbolism than they do content. Where your big budget films feel like they have to constantly have something going on, the films A24 picks up allow their script to breathe and their actors to act. Such is the case with “It Comes At Night”. If you go off of what the trailer shows you, you may be expecting a tense horror film; what you get instead is a moody psychological thriller that does a great job at creating atmosphere but doesn’t ever allow itself to become a horror movie (depending on what you consider that to be). The movie is definitely tense, as creaking floorboards, the wind through the trees, and loud thumping behind closed doors often serve as the only sound you can hear. However, there’s usually an explanation for the tension you’re feeling that leaves you wanting more. I kept waiting for something to be there, be present, but what I realized is “It Comes At Night” is more about the horror of trusting strangers during difficult times; not exactly the bigger picture threat they’re hiding from in the first place.

When an unknown epidemic begins effecting the world, Paul (Joel Edgerton) and his wife and son (Carmen Ejogo and Kelvin Harrison Jr.) board themselves up in a house way out in the woods. Their only way in and out is through a red door that they keep locked at all times. When the family awakes to the sound of something trying to break in, they are soon face-to-face with Will (Christopher Abbott) — a young man looking for food and water for his own wife and kid. After making sure Will’s story checks out and that his family isn’t sick, Paul and Sarah decide to let them live in their house; figuring there’s safety in numbers. Despite their meticulous attention to detail and all the precautions they take, the sickness is getting closer with every passing day and soon both families will have to decide if they can really trust the other.

Writer/Director Trey Edward Shults builds this tension-filled world while keeping all of the danger just beyond the horizon and while its an impressive feat he pulls off, I can understand why the film as a whole could frustrate viewers that go into this movie wanting to be scared. What impressed me most was the realism of the whole thing. The characters all act in normal ways (aside from one infuriating scene where a character has a hard time pulling the trigger to defend another) and the unknown of the situation that’s drawing them all closer to the final conclusion never once feels outlandish or unbelievable. While I have said many times that less is more, there are those moments when just a little bit more would have pushed an alright film into a really good one and “It Comes At Night” just didn’t deliver that scene that made me feel like all of it was worth it in the end. It doesn’t help that the film is a depressing one so leaving the theater I was impressed with the technical aspect, appreciated the writing and acting, yet had this nagging feeling that I might not have liked it at all. Perhaps the more time I think about it, the more I will like it.

All in all, “It Comes At Night” is a well made movie that will definitely appeal to a small audience but was lacking that one thing that would have opened it up to all around praise. One thing is for sure: A24 is building an impressive library and movies like this one definitely have their place in it. Love it or hate it, you will have to agree that, at the very least, it was creative.




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