It Comes at Night is the newest addition in the independent horror boom of the last five years that has brought us such critical darlings as The Babbadook, It Follows, The Witch, Don’t Breathe, Green Room, and the 2016 phenomenon of Get Out. This is some aspiring company to be a part of and after the trailer dropped, word of mouth spread like wildfire about the film. Almost all was positive and focused heavily on the farfetched work of second-time director, Trey Edward Shults. The film is dissimilar to any I’ve ever seen nor any I expect to see again. This review comes so late after the film’s release because it is a film that needs to be digested thoroughly before a consensus is even tried to be prepared. It does not cater to its viewers; it will be polarizing to say the least, but for those who lie on the side of the spectrum that’s for the movie, they will undeniably love it.
From now on, solely for the sake of making sure to give it their dues, I will use the “IMDb” plot logline when explaining a film. Most are created by their respective studio and is a sure-fire way to not give away any spoilers. That being said, that will come following our next review because the film at hand is so plot heavy, I wish everyone will try and go into it blindly; thus there will be not plot synopsis this time. It Comes at Night stars Joel Edgerton (Warrior), Christopher Abbott, Riley Keough, and the astonishing newcomer Kelvin Harrison Jr. Harrison Jr.’s character, Travis, acts as the viewer’s main protagonist, someone who we can all identify with and is successful with his powerful and at times conservative emotion. The script allowed him to truly spread his wings, but good on him as well as the director to know how much to emote when necessary. Edgerton is great as always and continues to be one of the great working actors of the past half-decade.
All four and a half stars below are warranted on one sole aspect of the film; immersion. Not that I can remember have I felt more “in” a movie. Not that I can remember has a film generated such stress and anxiety within me. It’s all factors that created the sentiment: the acting, the lighting, the cinematography, the dialogue, the score; despite being immersed, uncomfortable is a strong adjective to explain the sensation while experiencing the film. You’ll feel safe at times, but the demeanor of the screen will make you worried you shouldn’t be.
All who have seen the film will agree, the lack of answers is something that will frustrate and divide viewers unlike any film before. I’ll go deeper into the mysteries of the film in a small spoiler section below, but no one will be blamed for not being able to forgive the film for having the audacity to set up so many questions as it did and then not deliver. The ending is powerful and abrupt, although doesn’t 100% stick the landing and therefore restricted me from being able to award the film the coveted “five-star” review.
“The film is dissimilar to any I’ve ever seen nor any I expect to see again.”
This film is exactly the type of originality and uniqueness that it takes to make a truly refreshing horror film. A24 is known for giving smaller the films the attention they deserve and It Comes at Night is no different. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to assume that some larger studio won’t scoop up the young talented Shults and throw him into a $100 million budget blockbuster. Despite the rating below, despite the kind words I gave it, and despite my constant talking about it to all of my friends as of late, the next sentence is the true justifier as to my feelings about the movie: I don’t see a way in which this film doesn’t end up on my top ten list of 2017 in seven months’ time.
For the love of God, please don’t read further until you’ve seen the film. If you don’t plan on seeing it anyway, what the hell’s wrong with you? Do you not see that rating above? Go see it! That being said:
I apologize in advance for my language, but WHAT THE FUCK! What was the “it” in It Comes at Night? After lots of research after I screened the film, I read quotes from the director explaining that the answers that weren’t resolved were never meant to be. It’s supposed to keep you in the dark; much like life, we sometimes don’t get the answers we’re looking for.
Was Anthony infected or wasn’t he? When Paul goes into the room Anthony is crying but Will says, “Why are you wearing that mask? No one is sick in here.” Then Travis is infected! And if Anthony wasn’t sick, why was he crying all night?
Who opened the red door? Anthony is too short, from what Will said, but it was open by the time Travis got to it! There are six people in that house and one of them had to have unlocked it.
What was the disease? Does it turn you into a zombie and that’s why they burned the grandfather when he was infected? There has to be a physical threat because Paul threatens Will by leaving him out overnight and saying, “They’ll get you.” Also Stanley must have been barking at something in the woods, and if you get infected by skin contact than that means something touched Stanley.
Was Will fucking lying about his brother? It was one of the most shocking parts of the film and then was never decided. When their drinking, Will says he meant his brother-in-law, and it causes so much tension and curiosity that’s never carried on!