‘IT COMES AT NIGHT’ Review

by Andy Triefenbach on June 9, 2017
Movies
Item Reviewed

‘IT COMES AT NIGHT’ Review

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It’s odd to start this review off with a observation about a distribution company. However, I feel it to be necessary because I feel a good majority of us genre fans found out about this film because of A24’s effective marketing campaign. Let’s face it, good or bad, A24 knows how to market. Sometimes, the films might not be what Johnny Moviewatcher wants but A24 seems to always intrigue that viewer. Make no doubt about it, A24 is one of the most interesting distribution companies out there today. Whether I like the film or not, I know that they are not only putting out quality product (on a technical level) but they are also putting out genre films that are challenging. If you were to put the blanket term of “Art-house genre cinema” on something, I guarantee you some of A24’s films would come up – with The Witch being a prime example. I will always appreciate what they do and they will always get my eyeballs to watch whatever product they produce, whether it be in theaters or at home (sorry, still haven’t watched The Monster yet).

It Comes At Night is the new film that stars one of my favorite character actors as of late, Joel Edgerton (which, side note, if you haven’t seen his film The Gift, which he stars in and directed, you are doing yourself a disservice), as Paul who along with his wife, Sarah (Carmen Ejogo) and son, Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) are boarded up inside a house isolating them from the outside world – which seems to have gone to shit. We don’t know what happened nor will we really care because It Comes At Night isn’t interested in that. It is interested in character dynamic and what really matters: trust in your fellow man.

I feel like the less known about the film, the better. I won’t be offended if you click the “Rating” feature off to the left to just skip down to what I thought about the film. In fact, I’m typing more words as you are reading this in order to give you that privilege. Just know, I can’t type this gibberish for too long. At some point, I will need to reign this all back in and properly talk about this film.

THIS. IS. YOUR. LAST. WARNING.

That’s it. You asked for it.

The reason why I touched upon A24 in the first paragraph was for good reason. A24 knows how to market their films to a specific audience. That specific audience are filmgoers who want to be challenged and not just sit there and see regurgitated genre material. Sure, there may be some people like I mentioned before that are intrigued by the simplicity of some of their trailers – especially this film’s trailer – that is just vague enough to intrigue.

Trey Edward Shults‘ previous film, Krisha, wasn’t a horror film per se but teetered along the lines of being comical and uncomfortable. Shults can set a mood and that is only proven with It Comes At Night. The dread is palpable. However, much like The Witch, I feel that It Comes At Night doesn’t really fulfill us with a climax. Everything is just plopped down on the table abruptly and we are told to like it or don’t. Again, it’s challenging but it also makes me question that if one can deliver 90% of a film where I deeply care about the characters and what might happen to them as well as question every decision they make – which, on paper, seems to mean that I’m invested. Why is it that for the last 10% of the film, all that is thrown out the window to come to a hasty finish that is devoid of a fraction of the emotion I was feeling for what proceeded it. What might even hurt my viewing of this film more is that there is a final shot that not only feels repetitive but talks down to the audience it was trying to challenge at the same time. We know the fate of these characters thanks to the scene that plays before the final shot, why show us that final shot? The only thing I could come up with is now that their lives are forever changed, what do they have left to live for?

IT COMES AT NIGHT is in theaters Nationwide Today

Pros

If the feeling of dread ever needed to be manufactured to sell commercially, director Trey Edward Shults is your man.
Excellent acting.
Sound design and cinematography.

Cons

Dissatisfaction upon it's final act when everything that you thought would happen, happens and you feel no emotional connection.

The Score
Our Rating
Story
Characterization
Execution
Bottom Line

Worth seeing but keep your expectations in check. While challenging, I'm not sure how many more repeat viewings you might be able to get out of this one.

Total Score
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