film horror mystery review

It Comes At Night Review

By Ian Morton

With a breath of fresh air, It Comes At Night takes inspiration from some of the more classic horror tropes, relying on simple methods to get the job done.

While struggling to survive in a post-epidemic ridden world, a small family and their way of life is changed forever when a new set of survivors cross their path. With rising tensions and the ever-present threat of the outside world, the two families are put to the test and forced to confront not only each other, but also themselves.

From a technical perspective, It Comes At Night blends the old with the new, grooming the audience into an awkward sense of security while adding the occasional (and somewhat forgivable) jump scare to really make you leave a puddle. Clearly genre literate, director Trey Edward Shults begins with some emotion before building the horror, adding layers reminiscent of Blair Witch and even last years, The Witch (or was it VVitch!?). These layers are integral to the plot as we move through the story as you not only find yourself empathizing with the characters but also questioning what you would do in their shoes.

The film is shot incredibly well, moving from the subtle, creeping corridor crawls to the frantic, flashlight chases out in the unknown. While these are hardly innovative, the effect is hypnotic, forcing you to watch events unfold rather than hiding behind the closest pillow. The haunting score is a mix of uncomfortable notes that make you physically move in your seat and the combination of two create unease, creating the perfect backdrop for the story to play out.

In terms of exposition, we are given very little to go on. Most of the larger narrative is kept hidden from the audience, with little mention to the looming threat. While this lack of explanation may frustrate some, it works in this scenario as the audience are left to bring their own experiences to the table. This impressive use of storytelling not only makes it rather personal, it also inspires debate away from the cinema.

Front and center for the entire escapade are our leads Joel Edgerton, Carmen Ejogo and Kelvin Harrison Jr.  While Edgerton certainly embodies the survivalist inside, the entire cast give their all, particularly in the final moments of the film.

While the entire experience is enjoyable, there were certainly some moments that felt like they could have been fleshed out a little more. While it could be argued that ‘little is more’ – and it is to an extent – it feels more like missed opportunity rather than something lacking.

Overall, It Comes At Night ventures down a more traditional route in terms of your classic horror. If you are wanting something with obvious scares, then this may not be the one for you but if you want something to set split your soul in two, this will certainly tick your boxes. It Comes At Night scared the sh*t out of me and im not afraid to admit it! 4 out of 5 stars.

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