“It Comes At Night” is the new psychological horror thriller and second feature by Trey Edward Shults – with the operative words in the billing being psychological thriller. I emphasize the latter, because several people at the screening I attended were highly disappointed after viewing, and it seems they came with a different expectation of what the film was – one that I actually shared and one that really made me expect a scare fest. However, I left feeling the movie was anything but a scare fest, but what it lacked in “scare” it most certainly made up for with intensity, thrill and captivation.
In the film, we meet a three person family with a dog – well technically there were four but the audience immediately knows what happens to the fourth in the opening scene – who are trying to survive some type of post-apocalyptic disease/illness while in an extremely secured/locked home on an isolated farmland. Joel Edgerton and Carmen Ejogo bring the quality star power to this movie as the vigilant father Paul and protective mother Sarah, and Kelvin Harrison Jr. does well as their inquisitive, and I would say nosy if it wasn’t obvious that he was truly lonely, 17-year-old son Travis.
The family lives a mostly scripted life, under Paul’s secure rules, until an intruder (Christopher Abbott) shows up requesting sanctuary for his wife (Riley Keough) and child. What follows is a what’s really out in the woods/world, who’s infected, are they in the house thrill ride that results in tragedy.
But was it scary? I wasn’t scared, but rather invested in seeing how these characters were responding to their predicament and who would make it out – and make it out alive. And I was shocked, after watching the trailer which I did believe was “scary,” that there wasn’t more spook involved – but again it is an intense thriller and, with some of the gore shown, not for the squeamish.
If I were making a comparison, “10 Cloverfield Lane” comes to mind and this film is along that type of isolated, what’s going on in this house, psychological vein – but it involves a bit more movement (outside the home – but again no spoilers), isn’t as campy, and, unfortunately, you never really find out what is going on outside – and really I’m still not sure what the heck actually comes “at night.”
All in all, “It Comes At Night” was more of a thrill than a spook for me, but ultimately worked with getting into my head and making me question what I was seeing on-screen – and what I wasn’t – while keeping me invested in wanting more until the very end.
“It Comes At Night” opens nationwide on Friday, June 9.
Until next thought, Thomasena