Strong in location setting with dimlit forests & dark wood-paneled cabins, plus elegantly scored with fine performances + postapocalyptic humanity study, but too slow, uneventful, & absurdly plot-secretive – bordering on pure nothingness. 4/10.
After a mysterious apocalypse leaves the world with few survivors, two families are forced to share a home in an uneasy alliance to keep the outside evil at bay — only to learn that the true horror may come from within.
*Possible spoilers ahead*
Review: It Comes At Night has all the tools at its disposable to be a phenomenal apocalyptic thriller, down to even trailers and posters. With impeccable dimlit forest and dark wood-paneled cabin location settings, inventive shot selection and composition, eerie suspense building with a truly memorable and elegant score alternating between symphonic pads and dissonant ones, robust performances by its leads and supports, fine supernatural tease scenes, and a stunning postapocalyptic character study of what can happen to humanity being thrown into that dire a situation (not completely original having paranoia and distrust/sides-taking similar to The Walking Dead but more artistically-delivered), there should be no way it can fail right? Sadly, and remarkably, you’d be wrong. It Comes At Night squanders this impressive mix of intangibles it was blessed with and cultivated over its brisk 1hr28min runtime for a slow, uneventful slog that’s so absurdly secretive in plot it almost borders on nonsensicality and outrage. Seriously, the film never even reveals ANYTHING about what happened to thrust our characters into this situation and apocalypse, what the “sickness” is, why is Travis having these visions, what do the visions mean, why is everyone so terrified, and even what is “IT” is (you know, the “it” that’s in the title and is literally the crux of the mystery/film..)???? You end the film having gained absolutely *nothing* you didn’t have coming in, with what was essentially almost a complete waste of time; there is a stark difference between old-fashioned suspense building/escalation and mysterious teasing over simply being lost in your own pretentiousness or imbecility to never think.. well, maybe I should make some sort of plot decision here or convince anyone why they would (or should) watch this. 50 minutes in – which should be a grave warning sign that if you haven’t revealed at least part of the idea it is by then, you’re doing something seriously wrong – they should have switched gears and started characterizing what this seeming-supernatural presence is causing people to get sick (just a guess.. just as much in the dark on this after as I was beforehand?) so the viewer can at least piece together the storyline in the slightest without being left dumbfounded, disappointed, and angry in the end – I put the blame squarely on Trey Edward Shults’ shoulders for flamboyantly tricking audiences with a dramatic disconnect between brilliant horror marketing and unworthy sham product. Overall, despite strong filmic intangibles from location setting to score to performances, It Comes At Night is a breathtaking disappointment where you’ll leave the theater just as confused and unsatisfied as you would’ve been not having seen the film at all – at least then, you wouldn’t have spent an hour and a half to see an unresolved, question-riddled showcase of pompous nothingness.
Overall Rating: 4/10