It Comes At Night (2017)
Critic Consensus: It Comes at Night makes lethally effective use of its bare-bones trappings while proving once again that what's left unseen can be just as horrifying as anything on the screen.
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Critic Reviews for It Comes At Night
A fairly straightforward post-apocalyptic story, tightly focused on human torment, but suffused with surprising, undeniably atmospheric sights and sounds.
Edgerton gives another masterly minimalist performance, and Ejogo and Harrison are preternaturally alert.
Scored intensely and photographed vividly, the electric film imagines a small slice of doomsday with horrific believability.
It's not a sexy apocalypse, with a disease that transforms everyone into really cool zombies. It's just death. And it's not an easily managed "Doomsday Preppers" scenario solved by bulk foods from Jim Bakker infomercials. It's just doom.
Midway through "It Comes at Night" you might wonder where it's headed, and it seems Shults may have asked himself the same question. It's a breathless thriller that will leave you gasping until it finally runs out of air itself.
Audience Reviews for It Comes At Night
For anyone who has ever seen The Walking Dead, this film won't be very original in terms of how it depicts paranoia and distrust between strangers in a post-apocalyptic scenario, but it compensates with a tense and unsettling mystery that keeps us on the edge of our seats.
Like an earlier harbinger of the potential pitfalls of mother! marketing your movie as something it's not, the vaguely apocalyptic drama It Comes at Night is a paranoid thriller that is so bleak and absent resolution that you'll wonder why anyone bothered. It's not a bad film, and actually writer/director Trey Edward Shults has a knowing command on how to raise and develop tension with very precise camerawork and visual composition. The slow inspection of offscreen noise is still ready to build tension. The story has promise. Joel Edgerton is the father of a family trying to eek out an existence after the spreading of a deadly plague. He has a strict series of guidelines to protect his family members and keep them secure. This is put into jeopardy when he meets another family and invites them into his home. The rest of the film follows the slow dismantling of trust and the rise in suspicion and how it ruins both families. That's essentially the movie. There is no "it" of the It Comes at Night. The post-apocalyptic element is at best tertiary to the plot, and the titular warning seems odd considering sickness can arrive at all hours. I think the reason audiences seemed to froth wildly at the mouth over this movie is due to its grossly misleading marketing. I re-watched the trailer and all of the supernatural imagery, which is extensively highlighted, is from dream sequences, and one dream sequence within a dream sequence. There's a moment where the grandfather's dog runs off into the woods at barks at an unseen force. You hear strange sounds but you never see anything, and this becomes just another unresolved, underdeveloped element. This is more a Twilight Zone parable about the destructive nature of man. The look of the film is moody, the performances are good, but I felt underwhelmed by the end and questioned the point of it all. It Comes at Night is okay. I can't see what people loved and I can't see what people hated, though I can see more of the aversion. Nate's Grade: C+
I don't need happy endings in my movies. A downer ending is often what makes a movie great. But I do like satisfactory ones. It Comes at Night did not give that to me. Mystery is often its own reward, and I do believe that's what writer/director Trey Edward Shults was going for here, but it didn't wind up hit that resonant for me. This particular movie felt like it wasn't about the journey, it was about the destination, and we essentially didn't get one. Joel Edgerton is fantastic of course, but any one of the other actors could have been as well, we'll never know because they were never given that opportunity. Which really says it all with It Comes at Night. There seemed like there was something very worthwhile just on the other side of the veil, but we'll never know, because we never got to see it. And with cinema, if we didn't see it, does it really count?
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