I’m not really sure what the hell I just watched, but I sure did enjoy it. Written and directed by Matt Stuertz, TONIGHT SHE COMES is a blood-soaked love letter to 80’s horror that cranks the insanity up to eleven and never once stops for viewers to catch up.
The film follows two sets of friends who are separately drawn to the cabin of a girl who has gone missing. The strangers meet under bizarre circumstances, but not even that can prepare them for the mayhem that they’re soon cast into. Per IMDb, “They will laugh, they will drink, they will kiss, they will make love, and THEY MUST ALL DIE.”
Honestly, throughout the majority of TONIGHT SHE COMES, I hadn’t the slightest clue how to make sense of the events taking place. In most cases, this would prove detrimental to a film, but in the case of Stuertz’ horror flick, it simply adds to its charm. While this is far from a perfect film, it’s entertaining as hell and I had a blast while viewing.
Much of that fun comes from the situational comedy that Stuertz has incorporated into the film, casting his characters into scenarios that increase in strangeness as the story progresses, as well as the intentionally over-the-top use of gore, which is akin to classic splatter films. Stuertz takes an admirable, self-aware approach to filmmaking, and it’s rewarded tenfold by the final result.
The actors in TONIGHT SHE COMES, too, are game to keep up with the madness. Larissa White and Jenna McDonald are especially great during the scenes of WTF lunacy, and Nathan Eswine successfully plays his “deer in the headlights” character for comedy, though the character eventually reveals himself to be infuriatingly pathetic. Stuertz masterfully subverts viewer expectations for each character in his film, making for a refreshingly unpredictable experience.
As mentioned, however, TONIGHT SHE COMES is far from perfect. The first 15-20 minutes of the film are sporadic, which makes it difficult for the viewer to fully invest in what’s taking place on screen, and even when they do, the first third of the run-time can be off-putting: Certain character choices feel as though they belong in an entirely different film, specifically those of Pete (Adam Hartley), who seems like he was plucked right out of a TROMA feature, it takes a while for the tone to settle into its rhythm, and apart from the opening scene, nothing particularly interesting happens in this stretch of time, save for the score, which remains INCREDIBLE throughout.
Still, fans of 80’s horror will appreciate what TONIGHT SHE COMES has to offer, even if it never really attempts to explain its mayhem. The flaws are undeniable, but so is the amount of fun to be had. I strongly suggest checking this one out to see what you make of it.
TONIGHT SHE COMES will be playing exclusively at Cinemark Theaters October 5, 2017 for one night only.