One of the most anticipated thriller to come out next month has one of the best trailers I’ve seen this year. The trailer for IT COMES AT NIGHT promises viewers an intense experience set in a remote location during an unnatural threat that has terrorized the world. With a trailer that was as strong as this one, horror fans across the board were excited for the hopeful promise of something truly terrifying. But would this film live up to the hype that it was creating?
IT COMES AT NIGHT is directed by Trey Edward Shults and stars Joel Edgerton, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Carmen Ejogo, Christopher Abbott, and Riley Keough. As far as the acting goes, the performances were fantastic, most notably by Joel Edgerton as Paul, the overly protective and paranoid father, and Kevlin Harrison as Paul’s son Travis. When a family seeks shelter in Paul’s home, tension and paranoia rise quickly between the two families as trust is broken and secrets bubble to the surface.
I really, really, really wanted to love this movie. There are so many aspects of this film which are incredibly well done, but unfortunately, I felt the film suffered the most in terms of the storyline. Let me preface this by saying that I don’t mind films that are vague so as to allow the audience to fill in the pieces. There are many movies that have done this and many of those films I have loved. It’s a fine line to ride especially when you want to make sure you aren’t being so ambiguous that you end up confusing the audience. In regards to IT COMES AT NIGHT, I think that ambiguity was it’s biggest downfall. I don’t want to give anything away, but there were too many holes within the story that I ultimately left feeling unfulfilled and confused.
Though the story could have used a considerable amount of tightening up, that doesn’t mean that the overall film was bad. I can’t remember the last time I literally sat on the edge of my seat watching as the events within the film unfolded. The tension was so palpable and there was a stillness in the air as we all waited for whatever horrors this film had in store for us. Though I never really felt like the director delivered on what that horror was, he still did an extraordinary job of mounting the inescapable tension that was present throughout the entire film.
Along with the immense amount of suspense, the movie was also shot beautifully with an articulate eye for design and details. Whether it be the architecture of the home that Paul, his fie, and his son lived in or the natural lighting cascading through the forest surrounding them, the film was pristine and exquisite. It’s apparent that director Trey Edward Shults has an eye for design and it’s showcased perfectly in IT COMES AT NIGHT. Shults also was able to master the tone and ambiance of the film in a way that drew the viewer in so that they were immersed in the storytelling at hand.
Overall, though I had some serious issues with the storyline and it’s plot holes, I still think there is something to be said about this film. It’s incredibly intense and nerve-wracking in a way that so many horror films unsuccessfully try to be. It shows how quick paranoia can creep into our lives and take hold of situations with deadly consequences. If the film is a study on paranoia in a soon to be apocalyptic world, than it demonstrated that brilliantly. However, I think there was more to the story than just that and I would have liked for whatever was causing this fear within the families, something deep within the woods, to have been expanded upon. At the end of the day, IT COMES AT NIGHT, is going go to be a polarizing film where people will either love it or hate it, it all just depends on what your takeaway is going to be.
IT COMES AT NIGHT will be released in theaters from A24 on June 9th
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