It Comes At Night Review
by Phillip Wilcox "Our Movie Demon"
Having only seen the trailer a couple of times, sort of, it seemed intriguing enough to watch. I knew it was going to be intense and dark, and it even looked scary. Until I went to see it. And it was quite different from what I thought it would be. Though more people during that showing felt far more betrayed than I would've thought they'd be. When the last 5 seconds of the film cut to black and the credits began I did hear someone say "What?! What the hell was that?!" And as I walked past the lobby towards the exit doors I saw one gentleman begin to take a few steps towards the concessions counter he jokingly turned to his girlfriend and said "I'm going to get my money back". Now, though, did this as joke, I could see that he really probably meant it. But I'm sure he didn't want to make a scene. It was then I realized the brilliance of their marketing scheme (and yes I felt it was a scheme). They marketed it as more of a jump scare type of film that might include some sort creature, just to draw more crowds to it. And yeah I will admit, there were some moments of jump scares, but that was definitely not the focus of the picture.
The story is about a family, Paul, Sarah, and Travis (Joel Edgerton, Carmen Ejogo, & Kelvin Harrison Jr.) who are caught in the middle of this post-apocalyptic virus outbreak that can kill people within days. They have a secluded home out in the woods and they are doing what they can to survive. Until someone breaks into their home at night and suddenly after Paul subdues him and ties the intruder (Christopher Abbott) to a tree, he finds out this man has a family of his own and he was searching for a safe place for his wife and young son (Riley Keough & Griffin Robert Faulkner) to stay. After Paul and his family have a meeting about it, they decide to take in this other family.
As much as this film wants to come off a straight forward horror movie, it really plays more as a drama with a sheet cake topping of horror. The kind of horror that most people were probably most expecting only happens every so often. A sprinkle here, a dash there. The kind of horror that really comes through is that of human behavior like fear and paranoia. What length good people will go to to protect their family and loved ones. There were some interesting dynamics between the characters. First instance between the teenage son from one family, Travis, and the wife/mother of the other family, Riley's character Kim. And the other dynamic is between the two fathers Paul and Will. And their dynamics come to a head in the 3rd Act when things begin to go awry. These people, more so the two fathers, are backed into a corner to do some bad things in order to protect their families. And by the end you're not allowed to take a deep satisfying breath of ease. Instead you're left with a sense of tragedy and doom. If you want to know what it is It Comes At Night. It isn't anything other than the fear and paranoia of not knowing who or what is out there in the dark.