By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
Joel Edgerton, who last year starred in the romantic drama, “Loving,” takes a deep, dark turn in his latest movie “It Comes at Night.”
If you’re wondering what “it” is, well finding that answer will require plenty of tension-filled and fidgeting moments that will wear on your psyche.
Director/writer Trey Edward Shults garnered plenty of attention with his 2016 indie debut, comedy/drama “Krisha.” He’s upped his game with “It Comes at Night,” a slow-moving, yet enticing psychological movie that envelopes you from start to finish. Although, the film’s ending may leave you wanting more. However, everything leading up to it is nightmarish.
In “It Comes at Night” A deadly plague has nearly wiped out all civilization. One family is bent on surviving at all costs. Paul (Edgerton, who is the film’s executive producer), his wife Sarah (Carmen Ejogo, Alien: Covenant” and “The Purge: Anarchy”), their 17-year-old son, Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr., “The Birth of a Nation” and TV’s “Shots Fired”) along with their loyal dog Stanley, live each day in fear while tucked inside a boarded up cabin in the woods.
They have each other and a plan they believe will get them through this thing. Most notably, they wear gas masks to protect them from any germs, are handy with their guns and have a strict set of rules they adhere to each day. When they go outside for anything, they must do so in pairs. And they can never go out at night.
Paul, a former history teacher, never imagined his life would take such a drastic turn, but he realizes keeping his family healthy and safe is his main priority. They have plenty of food, water and ammo. But, when Sarah’s father (David Pendleton, “Begin Again”) comes down with the disease that makes him look like a blood-puking zombie, they are forced to shoot him and bury him. This leaves them even more frightened and wondering who will be next.
Things get even more bizarre when a guy named Will (Christopher Abbott, “Whiskey, and Tango Foxtrot”) breaks into their home swearing that he’s disease-free and not going to hurt them. He claims he’s only looking for food to feed his wife (Riley Keough, “Mad Max: Fury Road”) and little boy Andrew (Griffin Robert Faulkner) who are just a few miles away from the cabin.
Paul’s not buying Will’s story, but realizes allowing him to leave could have even bigger consequences for his family. So, he drives Will to get his family and takes them to the cabin.
While everyone is sitting and eating their well-rationed dinner, you get a sense that something is kind of eerie about these strangers. And you’d be so right. Yet, Shults lets your mind race as to what is coming around the bend, or should I say “at night.” When “it” does come, “it” takes you completely by surprise.
Shults doesn’t completely rely on jump scares to make “It Comes at Night” come alive, but rather skillfully uses long and tight shots. He even captures quieter moments that seem at any given time will turn into something much more terrifying and it often does.
For a movie made on a shoestring budget, “It Comes at Night” is an affecting and effective little thriller.
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Watch This Trailer For "IT COMES AT NIGHT"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), the Black Reel Awards Voting Academy and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.