Review: It Comes At Night delivers a “Cry Wolf” Like Tension Viewers May Not Like

I remember when the trailer to It Comes At Night was released and I was so intrigued with how well the trailer was done. The trailer gave nothing away as far as plot, fewer words spoken, shots of images to make your heart pump with excitement and fear but mostly a curiosity. Just as a reminder, get yourself in the mood of this spoiler free review by watching the trailer below. 

I chose to show this trailer because it was the only one I chose to watch. I was sold. I didn’t want to know anymore about it. I had so many theories and ideas on what I was going to see. I just wanted to know what the hell was up with that damn red door. I decided to just go in and just watch in the moment. There are more revealing trailers out there but I chose not to watch them. If you want to experience the movie in the same way, I would watch before receiving other people’s opinions. If not, let’s keep going. 

It-Comes-At-Night-Door

A24, known for their eccentric (Under The Skin), different (The Lobster), beautiful (Moonlight), and sometimes weird storytelling (Tusk) films brings the next anticipated horror movie. I like A24 a lot. I don’t see a lot of their films but they have given me films that I will always remember. Some examples of that are Ex Machina, Enemy, and Room and Green Room. Along with A24, director Trey Edward Shults brought you nothing short of a horror enigma that will surely get you talking and analyzing for days and days after words. The movie stars Joel Edgerton as Paul, a husband to wife Sarah (Carmen Ejogo) and father to Travis (Kelvin Harris Jr.) who has taken every precaution to protect his family from an outside threat that is terrorizing the world. Paul has come up with rules for a domestic order of his family to make sure that they are kept safe from any possible threat. Those rules and his natural order he has grown custom to is tested when an unwanted man and his family enter their lives. The balance of their household is shifted which puts him in an even more Papa Bear mode that could result in deadly consequence.

The film is only a 90 min feature but felt like over two hours as it is one of those horror films that takes a long while to build up. The use of dialogue drives this movie to keep your attention to learn and care for these people as the cast is not that big. There was definitely some suspenseful moments to grab you and make you think as well as anticipate what is to come. I think this movie will fall under the category of people who will either dislike and reject this movie or will like the approach and appreciate the tone and pace of the film.


The Blair Witch Project, The Babadook, Witch, The House of the Devil, Pontypool. After reading the following list of movies ask yourself this question, “How many of these features do you like?”. If the answer is at least 3 or more, It Comes At Night is your next great horror film. If you came to the conclusion that you disliked more than half of those movies, this will be a swing and a miss for you. What all these films have in common is that they project a certain type of horror and terror in their trailers without really delivering the same high energy you felt when you watch the film. This may not be a bad thing but to those who feel that way from those films will feel a bit robbed and cheated of the kind of terror they like and expect. 

The other thing they have in common is that they sort of have this “cry wolf” complex by teasing you with something physical to see and you only see a little to nothing at all. The big threat is either metaphorical or from within. A study of human behavior and how it effects themselves and others. These type of films want you to think about what you have watched and also bring you a unique and more realistic type of horror you are not use to seeing. 

You can also say that all these films including the feature of the day just takes too long for something to happen.

it comes at night shot

What I really liked about the film is that it was beautifully shot. The camera angles, the long one shots, the lighting and use of dark corners and lack visible sight you received created great suspense and tension throughout the film. The isolation you feel when they are in the woods or walking through the labyrinth of their home is a great touch to keep things interesting. 


The acting was superb from all players involved. The movie is told through the father Paul and Travis the son. Travis was a huge enigma for me in this film. Most of his sequences created most of the scares but just his character I couldn’t figure out. The film kept throwing multiple ways his character was hinted to go but each opportunity to go in one direction they go a different path. Paul on the other hand, you can see the passion and love he has for his family. His method of protection is that he would rather be hated than loved if in the end his family is safe at all cost. Watching him unravel throughout the film was really interesting to see because he had to dig deep to do the unthinkable to protect his family. 

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Some of the basic human emotions needed and used to associate yourself around those you don’t know play an intricate part in causing the turmoil and dilemma within the group. Trust, empathy, curiosity, love, and respect are just some of the emotions I mentioned that are tested which in some situations can kill you or save your life. In a setting where it is all about survival, you are given a glimpse at what people are capable of to do what is needed to live. 

From an entertainment prospective, I lean towards more on the side of dislike for this movie. Movies like these are fun to think about and dissect. It’s the type of terror that is more realistic and sometimes a reflection of how we operate as human beings today which can be a scary thought. However, the film just didn’t give me that adrenaline rush I was looking forward to when watching the trailer. Not that I need a bunch of jump scares for me to be entertained, but leaving almost everything up for interpretation makes me more confused and in think mode rather than losing myself in a film to be afraid. So if you need those exciting jump scares this movie may not be for you. If you enjoy a good character based film that is suspenseful through psychological terror, this movie is a good watch. Either way, it doesn’t have to be a movie you see in theatres if you happen to pay a lot to see each movie. I am recommending this movie to those who love the type of mystery horror films that makes you think about what you are watching. By the end of the film I was left with a lot of questions unanswered and no matter what I come up with as the reasoning for most of the actions in the film as I did decide my own conclusion, I will feel underwhelmed until I get some satisfying answers. I would probably watch it one more time to see if I pick up on anything to make sense of what I saw but beyond that, I probably will move on to the next one. 

3 out of 5

I hope this review was helpful in your decision to give it a shot or not. If you have seen the film, please comment with your thoughts and also what you thought of this review. Thanks again for reading. 

 

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