Happy Sunday MMT Fam! I feel bad this review is late – too much happening, so charge it to my head and not my heart – because it is about a really great story that Amazon Studios released on May 29th. Of course, I’m speaking about the latest sci-fi mystery THE VAST OF NIGHT starring Sierra McCormick (Curb Your Enthusiasm) and Jake Horowitz (A Midsummer Night’s Dream).
Framed within a fictional TV show entitled “Paradox Theater,” the film follows switchboard operator Fay (McCormick) and a radio DJ named Everett (Horowitz) as they discover and investigate a strange audio signal that interrupts their lives and possibly poses a threat to their small 1950’s town.
Here’s a partial synopsis: Set at the dawn of the space-race and replete with uncanny and ironic period details, THE VAST OF NIGHT falls down the rabbit hole of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone and stitches together a narrative scavenger hunt through dropped phone calls, AM radio signals, secret reels of tape forgotten in a library, switchboards, crossed patchlines and an anonymous phone call. The unexpected is explored both in the film’s twisty plot and its bold cinematic style, which includes stealthy long camera movements and even a spookily effective black screen.
The story is simplistic – especially with the 50’s setting – and almost predictable. But, the frenetic long camera work – and intensity of the mystery it creates – makes the film highly intriguing, while keeping the audience interested and rooting for the leads to overcome any danger that could arise.
What is also remarkable is the talent of both McCormick and Horowitz, who are in most scenes driving the story with a pacing that rarely slows until the film’s conclusion.
An old-fashioned mystery, with Hitchcockian elements and Serling tributes, “The Vast of Night” does a lot with a little – briefly noting the period’s pleasures and perils, especially racial disparity with the latter- in a extremely short period of time. I rate the film 3 out of 5 on the MMTrometer.
THE VAST OF NIGHT is streaming now on Amazon Prime.
Until next thought, Thomasena