Posted Jul 12 2017
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It Comes At Night - This Movie Darkly, Disturbingly Rocks

Dir: Trey Edward Shults

Starring Joel Edgerton, Carmen Ejogo, Christopher Abbott, Riley Keough, Kelvin Harrison Jr, Griffin Robert Faulkner

Here we have a contemporary horror movie that broods more than it jumps. That undermines and unnerves more than it shocks or screams. And more power to it.

The place is genre stalwart – “a cabin in the woods”, but the atmosphere Shults creates is anything but cliché. We all know that technically there is no such thing as a post-apocalypse, so let’s just say (for the sake of pedantry) that Edgerton is sitting out some recent near-apocalyptic event, with his wife Ejogo and son Harrison Jr (all excellent.) They have no knowledge of the world outside, and we, as an audience, are never made privy to what has occurred – although from their gas masks and the early burning of grandpa, it seems to be some kind of terminal highly virulent virus that we can only surmise has wiped out all they knew, and has the power to further take what little they have left.

And then another family (Abbott, Keough and kid – also all excellent) come knocking on their door. And what ensues is an exercise in paranoia, trust (or lack of), the coming to terms with what (little) remains of one’s own humanity – all tested against disturbing nightmares (or are they?) and the imminent threat that survival may not actually be all.

It’s a brave movie and one that cleverly draws us into this closeted, always a hair’s breath away from being a deadly world. Simple comments become potential lies, guarded actions become misunderstood (or do they?), the love of your own family and the desire to keep them safe always has the potential to destroy everything you’ve fought for.

Aided and abetted by an excellent unsettling score from Brian McOmber that adds to what at times becomes almost overwhelming tension, It Comes At Night is adventurous, disturbing cinema that genuinely lingers.

And no, we never find out what “It” is. (Or do we?)

 

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