Movie Review: "It Comes at Night" (2017)
You know what I like (besides good Scotch, professional wrestling, Clemson football, & cheerful vulgarity)? I like it when a movie takes a simple plot with a simple concept and DOESN'T give it all away in the trailer. I like a little mystery. It's called going into a movie "cold". There are certain types of movies that you want to go into "cold".
This is definitely one of those experiences.
Here's the plot synopsis that's on IMDB. It's all that you need to know: "Secure within a desolate home as an unnatural threat terrorizes the world, the tenuous domestic order he has established with his wife and son is put to the ultimate test with the arrival of a desperate young 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 him as he learns that the protection of his family comes at the cost of his soul."
That may be the best synopsis I've ever read in terms of summarizing the whole film and getting to the heart of the matter. No shit.
The patriarch of this finely honed tale of moral survival is Paul, played by Joel Edgerton ("Black Mass", "The Gift"). His wife, Sarah (Carmen Ejogo), and son, Travis (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.) are trapped with Paul in a fine home in the middle of nowhere riding out a plague of unknown origins. It has claimed the live of Grandpa, and they are forced to live by a very strict set of rules (gas masks, bio protection, etc).
The most important rule is DON'T GO OUT AT NIGHT. But, why? Is there really a monster out there that strikes only at night? Why is it so much more safe during the day? Or is it a metaphor for the darkness in all of us?
The spirit of this incredibly well-crafted thriller is protection- what would you do to protect your family and what will it cost you? It's a theme that literally everyone can feel on a personal level. These are dire circumstances that Paul and his family are in already.....then Will (Christopher Abbott, "A Most Violent Year") shows up with his wife, Kim (Riley Keough aka Elvis Presley's granddaughter), and their young son, Andrew.
Paul does the "right thing" by helping these folks out, but he has endangered his family and increased the risk of exposure in the process. You know this on a factual and a primal level. The tension builds rapidly from there.
I was very impressed with the sophomore from young talent Trey Edward Shults. It's genuinely intense. It shreds those nerves right to pieces while showing how fallible and human these folks are. This is a "you and me" situation that could happen to anyone. When it gets dark (and it gets really fucking dark) you have to examine it from both sides. Once you do that you realize that the end results are pretty shitty no matter how you cut it.
That, friends and neighbors, is how real life often works and you don't get that often in the vast majority of films. People have a hard time with the real shit. This movie delivers the real shit. Every act is strong and the ending produced a collective gasp among the audience (it was pretty full in that theater, too).
Your boy gives it a solid 8.5/10, while the average IMDB rating is a 7.2/10 and Rotten Tomatoes says it's 86% Fresh. Believe those numbers and take a plunge down one dark as fuck rabbit hole.