‘It’ is scary for one reason, a lack of description. What is it? Where is it? What is it after? Not knowing doesn’t allow for planning and so when fear strikes and It comes, fear turns into desperation and tragedy. A24 has a knack for choosing obscurely structured films that don’t exactly have any intent to clarify but rather to confuse and further deepen the metaphorical rabbit hole. This particular hole just happens to feature death and paranoia on a small scale that has large scale implications.
Much like another A24 horror great, The VVitch, It Comes At Night is an unhinged look at paranoia and the strain and destruction it can have on family. In these scenarios, those often closest to us are the ones to fear most, or are they? Reality becomes skewed and distrust runs rampant as new friends turn on one another and family loses its meaning in the wake of pure terror. The fear of death turns the very safety of their sanctuary into a prison of confinement and isolation. Lacking information of the outside world, the situation of strangers in close quarters is doomed to explode in a massacre of violence.
Before long, fear of the apocalypse takes a backseat to a more simple but very visceral phobia of strangers and their possible ill intent. The catalyst is often nothing more than a struck match and their delusions are the fuel drenched over a still writhing body so to speak. When desperation takes over, even the kindest of people can turn to a darkness that fuels nothing more than a desire to survive, even if the shadows demand murder, suddenly nothing is off the table.
Joel Edgerton continues to put in tremendous performances, one after another. Here he plays the self-made dealer of justice and peace; even if that peace is only achieved through brutality. Seeking a place of normalcy through routine, it’s a break in his family’s routine that sets in motion a sequence of events that will culminate in unimaginable ways. In this world of survival, no one can be trusted, no matter the innocence on their face or the intent of their hearts, dire situations make for desperate people.
This is presented as a post-apocalyptic thriller with possible paranormal and undead implications. Instead this horror is propelled by great performances that portray the uncertainties of a world gone mad. Their confusion and disillusioned knowledge fall into a boiling pot of lunacy that will threaten the very safety they hold so dear. Nightmares spread and supplies deplete as sanity gives way to something unexpectedly cruel. It Comes At Night is not a typical horror film and stays away from jump scares. Instead it relies on atmospheric tension with long shots of darkened hallways and open doors once locked tight. Odd noises seep into floorboards like blood dripping between cracks of a wooden coffin. The walls seem to close in like a trash compactor as time nears closer to an unwanted decision of survive or die. The idea was always to survive, but with death at their very doorstep, what they do next will determine if they see the sunrise. “Imagine the end of the world. Now imagine something worse.”
Rated R For: violence, disturbing images, and language
Runtime: 97 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Horror, Mystery
Starring: Joel Edgerton, Christopher Abbott, Carmen Ejogo, Riley Keough, Kelvin Harrison Jr.
Directed By: Trey Edward Shults
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 4/ Acting: 4/ Directing: 5/ Visuals: 4
OVERALL: 4 Nerdskulls
Buy to Own: Yes
Check out the trailer below:
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