For this review, I actually have a special treat for you guys, my readers. I have a guest writer giving his opinion on the film too, Jon Berk from Berk Reviews. Be sure to check out his blog (berkreviews.com) for more great reviews and movie coverage!
Big Tuna's Review
I was really excited for "It Comes at Night" because it looked like a truly chilling and well-made art horror film. I went out to see it on opening night, and I must say, it delivered.
The plot of this film is definitely great. It is a great psychological horror film, feeling like a mix of the modern body horror of Cronenberg and the classic suspense of Hitchcock. The pacing is very quick throughout, with the short runtime feeling like no time at all, although it never felt rushed. The movie hits the ground running, and it never really stops. Even when it seems that there is a lull in the conflict, the writing of the dialogue keeps the film feeling intense. The last twenty minutes are super suspenseful and had my heart pounding in what I would consider the best ending since last year's "Green Room". The metaphors that the film has to offer (which I won't reveal to prevent spoilers) are also really profound. That being said, I still had plenty of issues with the writing. The biggest one that I had would be a spoiler, but all I will say about it is that the film begins to take itself a bit too literally.
The execution of the film is amazing. The cinematography is perfect, building suspense without overuse of common gimmicks. The film also relies more on psychological horror, which is honestly scarier than average jump scares, of which there are a few, but they still add to the point. The score is bone-chilling and adds to the tone even more, and the production design, while simple and small-scale, helps the film find its tone. The acting is top-notch, too, with Joel Edgerton delivering yet another commendable performance as the obviously caring, yet often indiscernible father.
Overall, I found "It Comes at Night" to be a really great horror/thriller. It isn't without its flaws, but few films are, and it definitely stands out among the genre. This film isn't for all average horror hounds, but fans of art films will love it, and general audiences should give it a shot because it isn't what you'd expect.
It Comes at Night
Big Tuna's Rating: A-
How Did I Watch It?: In theaters.
Had I Seen It Before?: No.
Would I Watch It Again?: Yes.
Jon Berk's Review
Trey Edward Shults brings his sophomore film, via A24, "It Comes at Night" that is a suspenseful look at paranoia and self preservation. The film utilizes beautiful cinematography, excellent lighting, interesting dream sequences, and isolation of characters to create a tone that is truly terrifying while being thought provoking. While the movie will likely leave audience members questioning much of what transpired, active movie-goers will appreciate the themes the film address and the multiple interpretations available.
In a world apparently racked with a disease, Paul (Joel Edgerton), his wife Sarah (Carmen Ejogo), and son Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) have isolated themselves in their house in the middle of the woods. Their way of living is threatened when Will (Christopher Abbott), Kim (Riley Keough), and their young son Andrew (Griffin Robert Faulkner) arrive at their residence seeking refuge.
Joel Edgerton seems to get better with every film he does. His tyrannical patriarch is intimidating, but is delivered with a cool matter-of-factness born out of survival instincts. While he is the biggest name on the bill, the main character of the film is Travis. He is seventeen and has witnessed some horrors that no one, much less a teenager, should have to witness. He is clearly torn with what his father says and his own feelings of hope. Harrison does a terrific job in this role and manages to carry the weight put on him. All the performances are solid and everyone gets something to do.
This film really manages to bring the tension. Pretty much from the opening sequence to the end, minus the obligatory “look how great things can be” montage in the middle, the film is suspenseful and, at times, disturbing. The film makes you think about the lengths one would go to protect their family, how horrified one could get with no information available, and the psychological effects of those two things. It’s a film that will likely get better with more analysis and even a second viewing as there is a lot to consider.
"It Comes at Night" is another successful delivery by A24. The film works really well and, for a pleasant surprise, the trailer doesn’t give much away at all. Peoples' biggest complaints will likely be the amount of interpretation expected of the audience, but hopefully they’ll appreciate that for what it is.
It Comes at Night
Jon Berk's Rating: A-
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