Don’t come to watch this movie
It Comes At Night is the latest release from A24. The studio has released some brilliant films in the recent past that include Moonlight, Ex-Machina, and The Witch. It has a good track record, so it’s reasonable to expect that It Comes At Night is also going to be solid movie.
The recent marketing of the movie has it billed as one of the scariest movies of the year. This is like The Witch last year. While The Witch may not have been done any favors by its marketing, it still was an exceptional movie despite not being a traditional mainstream horror. This same sort of logic could possibly apply to It Comes At Night. Possibly is the key word here.
What exactly is the “It” that comes at night? Well for one thing there is no “it” and it doesn’t come at night…at least not in the tangible sense that one would think. Whatever you might think this movie is, it’s not. This is not a creature film. There is no literal bogeyman here. That knowledge alone could be considered a spoiler but I feel ok with saying it because you deserve to know what you’re getting into if you decide to view this movie. The fact that any of what I just said could be considered a spoiler is a sad testament to the disappointment of this movie.
It Comes At Night is a post-apocalyptic drama that takes place in a cabin in the middle of nowhere. A family is isolated here trying to stay alive and prevent getting infected from whatever is out there infecting everyone. One night, some stranger breaks into their home only to be restrained by the father of the house. This stranger also has a family which needs help so the main family decides to let them stay with them since there is strength in numbers. From there, things start to unravel in dark and morbid ways.
In theory and premise, there is a lot of potential here. This film has the makings of a great horror film. The atmosphere is tense and claustrophobic. There is a real sense of dread as the movie progresses. The actors, especially Joel Edgerton, really do a phenomenal job. Those are easily the best parts of this movie. That’s all there is to this film.
There’s really no narrative here. All we have is the premise. It’s all a smoke and mirror act that doesn’t ultimately amount to anything satisfying. The whole time you are waiting for the other shoe drop. Allegorically horrible things to happen. Even real horrible things too. However, it’s all just presented as build up to something more, with the something more never happening.
I like a good thinking man’s movie as much as anyone. It Comes At Night tries its hardest to make you think. It tries too hard however. Perhaps, this could have been a more serious twist on The Walking Dead television show if it was developed a little better. It’s funny, the movie tells you not to trust anyone but your family. I’d follow their advice and not trust them when they ask you to watch this movie.