Director – Trey Edwayrd Shults (Krisha, Mother and Son)
Starring – Joel Edgerton (Black Mass, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith), Christopher Abbott (Whisky Tango Foxtrot, The Sleepwalker), and Carmen Ejogo (The Purge: Anarchy, Alien: Covenant)
Release Date – 2017
Rating – 4/5
I don’t get to review a lot of recent theatrical releases. I sometimes get former theatrical releases from a few years ago who find their way to blu but modern big budget productions typically slip through my fingers. One film that I remember hearing about in theaters was It Comes at Night. Some of my horror friends said to stay away from it because it was a waste of time so I never ventured out for it. Hell, I had no idea what it was about but I really liked the title. It was very ominous.
Not long ago I received the press release about the film hitting blu. I was still curious about checking it out so I requested a review copy. After sitting on it for a few weeks I decided to finally toss it in and see how bad it really was. If you take anything away from this review it should be to never let other people make decisions for you. If I would have listened to them I would have never watched this deliciously dark film.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows Paul (Edgerton), his wife Sarah (Ejogo), and their son who live in a boarded up home in the middle of the forest where they avoid outside contact due to a deadly virus that has wiped out most of the world’s population. One night someone breaks into their home and Paul is able to knock them out. After a few days they determine that their intruded, Will (Abbott), is not infected and let his loose.
He reveals he left his son and wife in the woods and is trying to get supplies for them. Paul agrees to help and brings them back to his home but things are not as they seem. Someone keeps leaving the door unlocked and their son is constantly crying. When Paul suspects their son is infected he tries to remove them for his home which leads to a deadly shootout between families.**Spoiler Alert**
I thought It Comes at Night was going to be a creature feature. I mean, the title somewhat hints at it but after watching the film I can see what it was referring to. The film was surprisingly entertaining and I really enjoyed what they did with a story. I like movies that are terrifying without relying on supernatural entities to bring the scares. I’ve always said that nothing is more terrifying than knowing what humans are capable of doing. Serial killers and rapists are the perfect example of this.
The acting in this one is great. Typically, I’m not a fan of Joel Edgerton. His stone cut face makes it difficult for him to portray emotion which can make his performances feel underwhelming. However, this role feels like it was written with him in mind. A father watching over his family in a post-apocalyptic setting is perfect for someone with a dead stare and a chip on their shoulder. He was perfect. Also, I really enjoyed Christopher Abbott’s performance. He worked very well with the cast and brought some emotion to a bleak film. I would also like to mention Carmen Ejogo. She was fantastic as well and it was a shame she didn’t get more screen time.
The story for this one is simple and at times claustrophobic. A family hiding indoors while the outside world crumbles is not something new. In fact, its an old story by this point beginning way back when Matheson wrote I Am Legend. This has inspired movies like Last Man on Earth, Omega Man, Night of the Living Dead and so on which feature a single man or family trying to survive in a world of infected. What made this one stand out was the fact that the story relied on how the humans interacted with one another with very little mention of the infected other than their fear of being infected themselves. The film is very dialogue rich but it works in the story’s favor. The dialogue only adds to the character development. I really like how this film was written.
Finally, the film does have a few on screen kills but they were gunshot wounds. The effects are great but for those looking for blood and gore will be disappointed. Overall, It Comes at Night isn’t your typical horror film. The only monsters in this film is human who put the safety of their loved ones above all else. The film is a bit of a slower burner but every second is worth it. Check it out.