It Comes at Night, 2017.
Directed by Trey Edward Shults.
Starring Joel Edgerton, Carmen Ejogo, Kelvin Harrison Jr, Christopher Abbott, and Riley Keough.
Secure within a desolate home as an unnatural threat terrorizes the world, a man has established a tenuous domestic order with his wife and son, but this will soon be put to test when a desperate young family arrives seeking refuge.
It Comes at Night is a frustrating film to watch and a tough one to review. There are moments of brilliance throughout but it’s held back by a lack of tension and a plot that never really goes anywhere.
Some kind of plague has swept across the world. Paul (Edgerton), his wife Sarah (Ejogo) and son Travis (Harrison Jr) live in a boarded up desolate home in the middle of the woods. One night a man tries to break into their home desperate for refuge for himself, wife and young son. After deliberating Paul decides to let them join them. Unfortunately the rule based life that they have comes crashing down.
There are a lot of positives about It Comes at Night. The direction and cinematography and breath taking and I’d be surprised to see a better shot piece of film this year. From the opening scene where we see an older man covered in sores and breathing heavily through to a chilling shot of the family dog staring into the wilderness at some unknown entity; there is a lot of creepy and unnerving imagery. Various nightmare horror sequences ramp up the tension and the choice to show the story through the eyes of 17 year old Travis is an inspired idea.
Where the film fell down for me was in its tedium. The whole film is about paranoia, morality and whether the family themselves have become monsters in this world; but this doesn’t translate into an interesting film. Long hanging shots of the woods and awkward stares between the two families lay everything on thickly and so you’re in no doubt about where the plot is taking you. Unlike 2015’s The Witch, which was a similar slow burn cerebral horror where you have to make up your own mind about what’s going on, It Comes at Night struggles to engage and by the time the finale comes around it’s obvious what’s going to happen. Now this could just be me as I’ve read many positive reviews. If I have missed something then please let me know.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★