Director: Trey Edward Schults
Writers: Trey Edward Schults
Cast: Joel Edgerton, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Carmen Ejogo, Christopher Abbott and Riley Keough
Synopsis: Secure within a desolate home as an unnatural threat terrorizes the world, a man has established a tenuous domestic order with his wife and son, but this will soon be put to test when a desperate young family arrives seeking refuge.
*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*
A24 is back at it with the horror-thriller and unnerving game with It Comes at Night. Although the trailers make the film seem like a bonafide horror film, It Comes at Night is much more than that, and leaves you sitting there wondering not just you’re watching, but just how you are going to cope with what you experienced.
The film follows the family of father, Paul (Joel Edgerton), wife Sarah (Carmen Ejogo) and son Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), who secure themselves in a house in the woods from an unknown disease that has struck. The family does what they can to protect themselves: wear gas masks and gloves in case they come into contact with the infected, board up all the windows of the house, keep the red door closed and never – ever – go out at night. One day they come into contact with Will (Christopher Abbot), who says he has a family tucked away. Paul eventually, even though he does it reluctantly, goes with Will to get his family so all of them can be together. At first everything is fine, but soon tensions arise when things start to happen.
It Comes at Night works best when the paranoia is at its peak. The film mostly takes place inside the house, which immediately adds the tension because the house is almost always completely dark. It also doesn’t help that the film has multiple tracking shots into darkness that finally get illuminated at the last second, leaving you wondering if something is going to pop out? Will someone be standing in the corner? Or will it be nothing just leaving you on the edge of your seat?
However, even with the horror and post-apocalyptic aspects the film has, It Comes at Night also works as a family drama. The film opens with a death and Edgerton’s Paul makes it known to Travis, Will and through some of his actions, he’ll do whatever it takes to protect his family. Edgerton is also fantastic in this, as he pays the role with the utmost subtly but is a force when it comes to the quiet moments. Abbot’s Will also has some moments to shine and put his protective father mindset around the end of the film. These actions make you think, what would you do in that situation?
However, one of highlights of the cast is Kelvin Harrison Jr.’s Travis. He acts a little bit like a surrogate for us, even though he’s already in the thick of it. He also plays an important part of the film that I don’t want to get into too much, but it involves one of the more imaginative and tension-filled moments of the film. Unfortunately, Riley Keough’s Kim, Will’s wife, and Carmen Ejogo’s Sarah don’t get enough screen time to really get to know them too much, especially Keough, although she is involved in one of the more disturbing scenes.
All in all, It Comes at Night is a slow-burn kind of film, and while the marketing doesn’t do the film justice, it does make up for it by leaving you wonder where the film will go and how far it will too. Be ready to be just a bit depressed once this film ends.
It Comes At Night
4 out of 5