Monday, June 12, 2017

[Review] It Comes at Night

Put your gas masks on and get your flashlights ready, because It Comes at Night.

Paul (Joel Edgerton) and Sarah (Carmen Ejogo) live with their awkward teenage son Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) in a rustic home deep in the middle of a forest. On the outside, an insidious virus is infecting the world. When the household decides to take in another struggling family (played by Christopher Abbott and Riley Keough), they form their own mini-community in a fight for survival.

It sucks you in from the beginning, while raising multiple questions: What is the virus? Where is it coming from? Who is left? Or more pertinent - What the hell is going on? The slow-moving camerawork provides some unnerving POV shots of nearly pitch-black hallways and woods, and the thumping percussion of the music summons the dread. The film does see a lull during the midsection, but it eventually picks back up when hostile conflict arises between the two families. Extreme paranoia also creeps in and builds to some nasty nightmare sequences that will make you jump out of your seat.

Along the way, the story tiptoes into a few different thematic ideas but never really develops them any further. And the film is met with an abrupt and unsettling ending--the type of ending that causes audible gasps and audiences turning and saying "That's it?" Personally, I'm a little more forgiving when it comes to this story's bleak (and slightly rushed) conclusion, but I do wish the film had been longer. Still, I found the high points of It Comes at Night to be quite gripping and the overall atmosphere to be very potent. And while we never really find out exactly what It is, It is pretty scary either way.

( 8/10 )

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