Jorge Jones, staff writer
The film, “It Comes at Night” is a suspense film, directed by Trey Edward Shults. The film’s story is of a desperate time where trust leads to death. In such a time, can a family maintain its humanity? Through the use of symbolism, shadows, and nightmares, the director narrates a horror story with monsters and fiends unseen.
“It Comes at Night” takes place in a not so distant future at a home in the middle of the woods, where a family of three attempts to hide from other humans and some unspeakable horror that has crippled the world the family once knew. Paul (Joel Edgerton), the distrustful father, has a system in place to keep his family safe. That system is tested when Will (Christopher Abbott), another father, brings his own family to stay in the cabin. In a world full of paranoia and distrust, the two families share the cabin while protecting their own through different means.
The film’s acting is top notch. This is a challenging endeavor with a child of young age in the film. The film keeps the audience in suspense by withholding a lot of dialogue in the film, casting almost every scene in shadows, and concealing a backstory of the characters. The audience begins the film with a list of questions. That list grows by the end of the film. The film instead challenges its audience to come up with its own answers. “It Comes at Night’s” brilliance is largely due to some nightmarish dreams the characters have. The nightmares seem less farfetched as the film continues and the audience struggles to figure out which reality is real.
While a decent film, it is not without flaws. The film goes overboard with its usage of shadows and some of the scenes are difficult to see even on the big screen of the theatre. Sarah (Carmen Ejogo), the wife of Paul, has a small role in the film which could be seen as larger if the film made any effort to develop her character, their declination to do so took away from every scene that she is included in. The film is a fairly short and when the credits come, the audience is clearly surprised by it as much of the story is left untold. Not necessarily a fault, as it was intended, but ten more minutes of any part of the story would not have hurt the suspenseful nature of the film.
Ultimately, this film receives a seven out of ten. The film is built like a short story, but this does not translate the best into a film. Though the acting is superb, the film makes little use of it by limiting the dialogue. The film sits right at the cusp of a horror film and thriller, but is too much of either for any fans that are only fond of only one of the genres. The ideal movie for brave couples who want a film to discuss during dinner, less so for an alone film watcher who will struggle to find an outlet for all the questions the film raises. Still, Alfred Hitchcock would be pleased.