It Comes at Night (USA – 2017) – Short Review

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for Cinetalk.net

It Comes at Night is Trey Edward Shults’ second feature starring Joel Edgerton (Black mass, Midnight special) Carmen Ejogo (Selma, Alien: Covenant) and Christopher Abbott (A most violent year, James White)

A world threat, coming under the form of a virulent disease, forces a family to isolate itself under a set of rules. The sudden arrival of another family seeking refuge puts their domestic order and empathy to test.

It Comes at Night is your behind closed doors – let-them-come-I’m ready- minimalist take on the end of civilization. It shares the pessimistic views on the subject of pictures like Time of the Wolf (2003), The Road (2009) Take Shelter (2011) and countless others. It pretty much covers known territories to film buffs of the 21st century, basically making honest and efficient use of what looks like a shoestring budget. Yet it is not totally successful in building full tension beyond the use of slow travelings, spooky sounds and dark mood music.

Films used to have an opening.  It gave us time to relate to the characters and actions, to relate to what is happening on screen. The kind of Hitchcock-style build up ultimately guiding us to the proper climax. Nowadays, many film, trying to hook that internet consuming audience, jump right into action. In the first seconds we are introduced to a character (being violently disposed of) with none of the real build up that could make it work better and, like numerous contemporary films, it blows it within its own choice of pacing. Never boring, well acted and honestly made, it just doesn’t fully stick together as tension is concern.

While it contains a certain degree of pessimistic entertainment value, It Comes at Night doesn’t fulfill all its promises.

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