Review: It Comes At Night (No Spoilers)

By Angel

Movie Description: “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.”

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Experience

I want to love every single movie that I see, especially in theaters when it’s regarding my favorite genre which is horror. I only saw the first trailer for this movie and it automatically captivated me enough with it’s bleak atmosphere, cinematography, and cast that included Joel Edgerton. During the majority movie I had this unsettling feeling in my stomach of tension which I absolutely loved during these films because it immerses me completely, but the third act and conclusion had me feeling conflicted about the entire movie. Unfortunately, I realized that It Comes At Night felt like a typical episode of The Walking Dead. Let’s get started!

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Story

The narrative hooked me with the opening as it presented a sick man, the father of the female protagonist, being put to death with a shot in the face from his son in law. This established a tone that was troubling and made me invest as I wanted to understand how the man got ill and why there wasn’t any hesitation to take his life away. The movie sets up a major conflict in the story as these characters avoid the night, because there is an entity that is lethal. I understand what the director was trying to do by hiding the dangerous force as a method of “the unseen is scarier,” but not once do we get any information as to what “it” is or what “it” exactly does or even if “it” exists.

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Most of the disturbing parts in the story are dream sequences and are just a waste as it adds nothing to the story while eliminating all anxiety that should be emphasized. Several plot points that had the potential to be extremely interesting are included in this story and lead up to nowhere; I had many questions regarding the story in which there should have been resolutions, but were never given. I completely understood the wants/needs of the characters, which was to survive and that was achieve by great performances!

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Performances

Joel Edgerton never disappoints me, especially in this role as he plays a father who has to maintain a strict set of rules under his domestic order. His performance felt so realistic that I completely forgot I was watching an actor play a character, instead I was watching a real human react to the environment and situation of this post-apocalyptic world. It totally made sense for him to become this character because he perfectly played a person that had to emote evil although filled with pure intentions.

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I had no idea who Christopher Abott was until now, I loved his performance as he played this desperate character who was just trying to protect his family as well. It was vital for him to convince me with his portrayal that I empathize with him due to his motivations while also maybe not being able to trust him completely. The long lasting one shot scene he had with Joel Edgerton in the woods was one of my favorite scenes. The authenticity of this world and the people within it was elevated because of him.

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Kelvin Harrison Jr. gave a subtle performance that resonated with me because of how vulnerable he was. There is quite a large amount of focus on his character which I didn’t feel was necessary to the overall theme of the movie, but when he was in frame he delivered.

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Cinematography

To me, great cinematography is when the visuals are contributing to the storytelling. A film should SHOW us what’s going on rather than tell us. When it comes to analyzing cinematography, simply, I ask myself, “Was this film nice to look at?” Then I can choose to get in depth and look for whether colors were symbolic, placement of characters in the frame, composition, lighting, shadows, and point of view.

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Was It Comes At Night a nice film to look at….ABSOLUTELY! The camera work and lighting is arguably the greatest thing about this independent horror film. The use of lighting, location, and shadow in order to establish a feeling of claustrophobia and paranoia was brilliantly executed. The reason I felt like I had a knot in my stomach was mainly due to what the filmmakers presented to my eyes on the big screen.

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Music

The sound and music were excellent for this story because it felt immensely eerie. I loved how effective it was when aiding in created an atmospheric world of dread.

Theme

Don’t watch the trailers for It Comes At Night because it will distract you from what I assume to be the main message of this psychological thriller. I think this film was exploring the acceptance and fear of death. Choices in this movie have to be made by the characters, but it can’t be done without trust and acceptance of those actions. Both of those virtuous traits are important for any situation, especially when trying to protect one another. I also love the tag line in the trailer that said, “Fear turns monsters into men,” which I didn’t find as misleading marketing because that theme was truly explored, it’s explored very well.

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I’ve seen this before though, I have seen this theme expressed much better in episodes of The Walking Dead, which is why I felt conflicted and underwhelmed as the events in the movie continued to unfold. I loved the theme of family and how anyone can be bonded together as family as long as you have faith in each other. There can be a variety of interpretations after viewing this.

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Overall

I really loved the performances, the majority of the feeling I had while watching this story, the music, and cinematography. What disappointed me about this film was the real obstacles that the characters had to overcome, even though that aspect was executed appropriately along with it’s theme. I still wish there wasn’t an abundant of dream sequences that I felt took away from the suspense and also wish I still didn’t have so many questions by the end. I don’t expect to have every movie wrapped in a little bow for me, but when I’m scratching my head and thinking to myself, “well what was the point of this and that” for most of the plot points, then it’s annoying. Thanks for reading my review! This is worth a matinee showing and my rating for It Comes At Night is 8/10.

Grade: B-

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