It Comes At Night (2017) Review: Slow Survivor Drama

Synopsis: Secure within a desolate home as an unnatural threat terrorizes the world, a man has established a tenuous domestic order with his wife and son. Then a desperate young family arrives seeking refuge.It Comes At Night (2017) Review Poster
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Calamity Brains:

Don’t watch the trailer for It Comes At Night. It’s wildly misleading. If you’ve already watched it, be prepared for a very different movie than what the trailer leads you to expect. The marketing, name, and even the setup for It Comes At Night all point to the movie involving some sort of menace that, well, comes at night, and that’s just not the case. I put on this movie expecting something scary, and instead got a drama.

If you’re a fan of survivor drama, you’ll find a lot to like here. It’s not one of my favorite subgenres, but It Comes At Night handles the interpersonal dynamics of a post-apocalyptic world with the appropriate care and gravitas. The movie itself is fairly well made as well, though I definitely felt once or twice that things were set up to make the movie seem deep rather than because the movie actually WAS deep.

The cinematography and music were effective at capturing the unsettling atmosphere of a It Comes At Night’s post-apocalyptic world. They were also effective at ramping up the tension. Unfortunately, there was almost never a reason for the tension, which meant I very quickly stopped paying attention to the music. About 45 minutes in, I still wasn’t clear on where the story was going or what I was supposed to be afraid of, which was definitely a problem.

Because most of the movie relies heavily on interpersonal interactions, it was also a problem that the homeowner family had so little personality. Parents Paul (Joel Edgerton) and Sarah (Carmen Ejogo) were jaded and grim and rarely spoke, and while that was justifiable, it made it hard for me to relate to them or care what happened to them. Son Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) was even worse in that regard, withdrawn and creepy and only once showing any real sign of life. This was in particular contrast to the visiting family, which I assume was on purpose – but again, it didn’t really work for me as a device.

Overall, It Comes At Night was well done, and I probably would have enjoyed it more if my expectations had been more in line with the movie. As it was, I appreciated what it tried to do, but felt the execution wasn’t enough to overcome my disinterest in the subject matter. But if you like drama, this is probably a solid choice for your next movie night.

Calamity Brains’ Rating: C
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Calamity Brains

The Codex Mortis Horror Hosts (Ludwig von Stroodle and Calamity Brains) are married and live in West Virginia. Pretty much everyone who sees their cabin agrees that it would be an ideal setting for a horror movie. Their pets include a black widow spider, a smart dog, and a stupid dog. When they aren’t watching horror movies, they can be found at whiskey festivals, Renaissance fairs, and board game nights.

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