Film Review – It Comes at Night (2017)

Title – It Comes at Night (2017)

Director – Trey Edward Shults (Krisha)

Cast – Joel Edgerton, Christopher Abbott, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Carmen Ejogo, Riley Keough

Plot – In a world seemingly ravaged by a life-threatening virus, Paul (Edgerton) and his family live in an isolated house with a set of strict rules that keeps them safe. Paul finds this way of life threatened by the sudden arrival of Will (Abbott) who may or may not be a danger to him and his family.

“You can’t trust anyone but family”

Review by Eddie on 24/07/2017

Horror buffs and gore-hounds will be disappointed, but this festival darling that has unfortunately been miss-marketed as a low-budget horror experience like The Witch, is an often tense and unnerving experience that will have you hooked for a majority of its runtime, until it veers a little off the rails with a disappointing last act.

Bought to the screen with the help of its leading man Joel Edgerton, It Comes at Night marks an impressive sophomore feature from director Trey Edward Shults, who wastes little time throwing us into a world in which a mysterious virus/viral infection has taken over and Shults cares little when it comes to delving into the how’s and why’s of what’s happening and explains almost nothing as we’re instead joined up with Joel Edgerton’s Paul, Carmen Ejogo wife Sarah and Kelvin Harrison Jr’s often creepy child Travis and their battles for survival in a world gone mad.

It’s an often unrelentingly bleak film, from haunting opening through to even more depressing ends but Shults does a fine job of encapsulating the terror of such a situation as no one can be trusted and survival taking the lead in every decision or scenario.

The mood created by Shults is impressive and for 30 minutes or so at films start you feel like you’re barely going to get a moments respite but as Christopher Abbot’s mysterious Will and eventually his wife and small child are introduced into the film as a potentially threatening presence, It Comes at Night begins to lose the tightly wound tension established early on as questionable decisions are made in light of moving the plot forward, scares become non-existent and a realisation dawns on us that the characters we have been attached too aren’t as likeable as we needed them to be.

There’s certainly nothing overly wrong with any of the performances, Edgerton and Abbott in particular impress with their turns, but with almost zero backstory and a lack of growth allowed for the characters, it’s really hard to care like we should and when a doomed family pet makes us more emotionally engaged than the humans, you know there’s a slight problem.

Final Say –

When It Comes at Night clicks it creates a fiercely intense vibe that makes for initially captivating viewing but the set-up to this narrative ends up being more interesting that what actually happens and as the scares dry up and you realise not a whole lot is going to actually come knocking when the sun goes down, It Comes at Night ends with a whimper instead of a potential bang.

3 ½ attic eavesdropping’s out of 5

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11 responses to “Film Review – It Comes at Night (2017)

    • Cheers Alex. For the first 30 mins in particular I was just totally into it, so tense and well set up but it never felt like it fully went on with the impressive beginnings.
      E

  1. Absolutely agree with your spot on review. The film was well acted and brilliantly directed up until the creative decision to leave us with a poetic ending. I know some who enjoyed this choice but I wanted something more traditional.

    The “less is more” suspense and hallucinations worked so well for the film but to end with a similar style and arguably not give a satisfactory pay-off was a bit underwhelming. The filmmaker is very talented though.

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