Horror movies, they seem to be popping up at random times during the year. Why June 9th called for one, I don’t know, but nevertheless… here I am writing another review on one. Tonight, we hit It Comes At Dark, a movie starring Joel Edgerton. Based on the trailer, I was expecting a thriller set out in the woods, as our main cast remained isolated in their proverbial fortress of solitude. And with good reviews on other sites, my expectations further swelled. What lies hidden in the house? Robbie K will try to answer with another spoil free review.
Unique Twist: I use the word unique lightly as most stories have been told in the daunting flood of movies. This film though treks away from the typical presentation of the horror genre, focusing a lot more on character development instead of just on the scares. It comes at night takes a more artistic explanation, using the metaphorical devices to build up the suspense, story, and spook factor present in the film. Such an “original” presentation is fun to watch, as the realistic atmosphere adds a little more edge to the movie.
Creepy: If you’ve read my other horror reviews, you know I like a movie that balances jumps with creep factor. It comes at night doesn’t rely too much on the abrupt symphony blares that shatter the silence, but instead focuses on the creep factor to get under your skin. The director brought three components that helped deliver the motive. The first is the use of shadows, letting the unknown hijack your imagination and pain the picture of what lies n the dark. Have a fear of the night, or at least night in the woods, then get ready for your worst nightmare, because that is what you are going to get. Second is the utilization of subtle sounds to further tease your imagination to create an image of what lurks in the dark. And finally, the realism factor. It comes at night’s twist could certainly happen and realizing the fact spices up the terror. That’s right, no over the top monsters, gratuitous maiming, or cheesy over dramatic stories about possession. It’s just straight up creep fest, using simple scare tactics. Nice job guys.
Slow Pace: It Comes At Night does indeed have a unique twist, but it also opened the movie for a much slower presentation. After a rather tense opening, the pace drops to a snails run as you watched the family work to make a living in this post-apocalyptic world. Like one of the weaker episodes of the Walking Dead, much of the movie involves sequences of chores, upon chores, upon…yep you guessed it…more chores. And given the short run time, I wanted more bang for the buck. Certainly it develops character (a plus), but without that exciting finish and tension to bring it full circle, the movie dragged and left me bored at times. Artistic? Yes! Realistic Yes! Needed all the time? No!
Frustrating flashbacks: This movie has plenty of weird dreams and semi-flashbacks trying to tell the story and do indeed build up the tension of the situation. What is frustrating though is how incomplete these flashbacks are in the grand scheme. The director had a brilliant idea to tease you with the unknown threats looming in this movie. Unfortunately, the flashbacks, again, never get to the final answer, and all the extra flashbacks (while a great portrayal of thought and fear) frustrated me to know end at the constant interruption of the momentum and not providing the answer. I get it…that’s the point of this movie, but come on…give us something.
Ending: The ending is certainly not the typical, run of the mill finish you expect in most spooky flicks. So, this reviewer gives them props for that originality and significantly hard punch in the face. Yet again, the director’s obsession with being artistic resulted in an ambiguous ending that drops to black just like that. After bringing things to a full boil, the big finish fizzles out with a hasty wrapped up conclusion and a silent final scene where nothing happens. No answers to what has happened to the world. No answers to the unknown factor that led to chaos (no clear one anyway). And no satisfying ending to complete the run. So unless you just like dark, vague, finales where you are responsible for piecing things together, get ready for a disappointing ending.
It Comes At Night certainly defies the typical horror genre, and finally injects some uniqueness back into the mix. A fantastic use of shadows and using the imagination to fill in the gaps amps up the scares and truly colors the unique “monster” looming in the woods. Yet, they went a little too far with this gimmick and the incomplete ending just didn’t do it for me. Abstract thoughts and artistic quality aside, I can’t recommend this one for the theaters except for those who like psychological analysis of a plot.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 5.0