Secure within a desolate home as an unnatural threat terrorizes the world, the tenuous order a man (Joel Edgerton) has established with his wife and son is put to the ultimate test with the arrival of a desperate family seeking refuge. Despite the best intentions of both families, paranoia and mistrust boil over as the horrors outside creep ever-closer, awakening something hidden and monstrous within the man as he learns that the protection of his family comes at the cost of his soul.
I went into It Comes at Night expecting with high expectations. I expected a horror film comparable to A24’s past features like The Witch. What I actually got was one of the most conflicting movie going experiences I’ve ever had. This is due to the abysmal marketing campaign of this film. I think this is the reason for the poor reaction of many viewers after seeing this film. For that reason I understand why people would walk out hating this film. I also understand why people love this movie as there is plenty to like. I fall almost into the middle of that spectrum. In some ways I love this movie, in other ways I just don’t.
As for what I like:
- This film is GORGEOUS- Every shot is immaculate and it was a treat to watch
- The performances- Joel Edgerton and Kelvin Harrison Jr. were the standouts to me but everyone is great
- It is the definition of slow-burn horror it eats away at you and gets under your skin as you watch
- The lighting- This film has these splashes of light illuminating characters or certain details-The use darkness is probably the most terrifying aspect of the movie in my opinion.
- I was on the edge of my seat for the climax- while the film kind of lost me in parts, I was completely invested in the ending so it did something right
The number one problem I have with this movie besides the marketing, is the numerous amount of unfinished arcs. There are soo many loose ends that this movie just never bothers to tie up. The director has stated this is on purpose to make the audience interpret what it all means. This is fine, I get it, I love coming out of a movie and trying to figure out things or tie up loose ends. The only problem with this movie is that there are so many of these! Every other scene and I’m talking major scenes have these emphasized moments that I’m waiting to see finished off in the end or get some sort of clue to answer my many questions about them. We just never get these answers or even more importantly clues leading to answers. While there are a lot of movies that are extremely confusing they at least have some sort of trail of clues that help you figure out what you just saw. In the case of It Comes at Night, there are no answers and that’s just it. I also was not a fan of the dream sequences that one character has because they have just about zero connection to the main events of the film. The director also screws with the aspect ratio during these sequences. This essentially lets you know what you’re watching is a dream before it ends, thus taking the fun out of it for me at least.
I do feel the need to defend myself for my negative comments. I did not go into this movie expecting jump scares or anything like that. I also do not feel the need to call out and look down upon normal movie goers for not liking this movie. The marketing campaign completely led people astray in this case and you can’t blame them for it.
I’ll be seeing this a second time this week, and I think I’ll enjoy it a lot more now that I know more of what to expect. While all of the loose ends and seemingly useless scenes frustrate me, I am oddly fascinated by this film and the directorial style of Trey Edward Shults.
This is the first time in a long time that I just have had a hard time deciding how I felt about a film therefore I’m not going to to give it a grade.
If you hate it that’s fine I get it.
If you love it that’s fine I get it.
I’m in the middle there’s some I love some not so much.
What did you think of It Comes at Night?