Director: Trey Edward Shults
Screenplay: Trey Edward Shults
Cinematography: Drew Daniels
Starring: Joel Edgerton, Christopher Abbott, Carmen Ejogo, Kelvin Harrison Jr and Riley Keogh.
A post-apocalyptic, psychological survival film that digs at those paranoid fears of sickness and who’s going to die next.
It Comes At Night is a quiet film.
It’s all about the suspense, the weight given to silence, misunderstanding and fear. In the end of days, you can only trust family.
When a stranger (feature film debut for Christopher Abbott) breaks into the isolated home of Paul (Joel Edgerton), Sarah (Carmen Ejogo) and their teenage son, Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr), the story of sickness that’s infested the population slowly unfolds.
Don’t expect a flashy, blood-soaked horror, this film’s about the suspense and fear of who to trust and if that trust is the best way to survive.
Clever devises are used by cinematographer, Drew Daniels who also worked with director Trey Edward Shults previously in the film, Krisha (2014).
The careful pacing and detail shown to the audience is testament to Shults not only writing the story but directing, taking complete control over the unfolding of a mystery so the film’s not about the plague but about the fear of contracting the sickness.
That’s what I liked about the film. The desperation was held at bay by people you can relate to. Not losing it. Just trying to keep it together only to fall apart at a misunderstanding or a bad dream, and the undeniable knowledge of what desperation can breed.
Instead of sickness and madness, it’s the fear that becomes contagious shown by the wearing of gas masks and the feeling of isolation by depicting a stencilled jagged branch against an overcast sky.
And the story felt authentic. The audience shown just enough to believe the reality of being isolated during an event unknown, but known enough to be feared. Like we’re trapped in the forest with the family. Wondering at the barking of a dog at persons unseen and a locked red door mysteriously opened.
Each character had their part to play and solid performances were given by the entire cast. The tension between Travis and Kim, the young mother and wife of the invading stranger and only viable female for the teenager, shown brilliantly through a twitch of an eyebrow and the nervous clenching of a jaw all used to show what cannot be said. Each subtle gesture used to tell the story.
It Comes at Night isn’t a thriller, Shults uses the psychology of fear instead of blood and guts for this unique horror, and I couldn’t help being absorbed by the suspense.
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