While an unnatural threat terrorizes the world, Paul (played by Joel Edgerton) has managed to live in a secure home along with his wife and son. As the viewer, we really don’t really understand what the actual threat is that’s taking over the world, but we do know that 3 people are have somehow survived and learnt many things. Along with this, we discover a key element of their survival is by obeying the so-called “house rules”. Some of these rules include never going outside after dark and wearing gas masks when interacting with unknown strangers or animals as they could be infected with a “virus”. Things become even more interesting when Paul encounters a young, desperate man trying to break into his home. When the young man, who also has family, seeks refuge at Paul’s home can the two families get along and survive together?
One of the greatest things I can say about It Comes At Night is how great the film looks and sounds. Considering how dark the film is visually, there are many well-created shots that you can tell the director has enjoyed showing to his audiences. Smooth camera work at key moments such as when a scared character walks down a hall, as well as ambient noises, sets up the perfect amount of tension and concern. Within the 1st 15mins, this film had also managed to make me jump twice; something I rarely do in films. Because we as the audiences are also unaware of what threat this family are afraid of, that in itself carries an extra dose of suspense.
Another interesting element to this film is when a character falls into a dream sequence. The director changes the aspect ratio which is a dead giveaway that what we are watching is not real. But I questioned myself… was this something the director wants us to know or perhaps is this just a simple distraction which was unintended? Either way, I found this type of filming rather clever and once again very effective for a horror film.
While the film is very creative when it comes to visuals and the filming of this horror as well as a stunning audio track, the film’s overall pacing may annoy selected viewers because it can feel slow. Another factor here is that the film requires you to think and try to work out the missing pieces to this story even from the very start. As write this review, I’m pretty confident that if I sat down and watched the film again I would gain a better understanding or perhaps notice something I didn’t understand or pick up previously.
Overall, It Comes At Night is a very suspenseful horror film which creates many mysteries from the start of the film and leaves you thinking after the credits roll. There are many outstanding performances here and the director has shown some crafty work. I personally found this film rather creative and enjoyable. I also cannot wait for a “second viewing” as I’m curious to better know more about the film’s mysteries (if possible).
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Review Written by Peter Walkden