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, but this will soon be put to test when a desperate young family arrives seeking refuge. – (Source)
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 86% (Critics) / 47% (Audience)
Directed By: Trey Edward Shults
Written By: Trey Edward Shults
Starring: Joel Edgerton, Christopher Abbott, Carmen Ejogo and Kelvin Harrison Jr.
Trey Edward Shults rarely lets up on the mood of paranoia, hopelessness and claustrophobia and I have to admit that it enhances the tension one feels while viewing IT COMES AT NIGHT because you always felt like there was something horrible about to happen in every scene. And his camera work was stellar too with slow pan outs and zoom ins on people, areas of the screen that made that feeling of something bad about to happen never seem to let up.
I was also very impressed with the cast especially Joel Edgerton as Paul, who gave a constrained yet powerful performance as the patriarch trying to keep his family safe despite the horror of the outside world and Kelvin Harrison Jr as his son Travis, who was a sensitive kid trying to navigate the normal emotional minefields a teenage boy goes through while also trying to be strong for his parents.
I perked up at the changes that inviting a new family into their home brought to Paul’s family affection Paul and his wife began to have as well as Travis’s hormones flaring up with a new woman (that he is not related to) living in his home and Paul’s slight jealousy at how another man seemed to be able to create an easier rapport with his son. I would have liked to have seen more time spent on this new living arrangement and the unexpected dynamics that would have developed but almost as soon as a few bread crumbs were dropped for this type of interpersonal drama things were just blown all to hell.
Maybe I was thrown off by the only trailer for this film I saw (and the one that hooked me immediately) but I wasn’t expecting the virus outbreak and whatever the resulting changes that people who were infected went through to only be hinted at in the movie. I would have killed to be shown, even briefly, something about the outside world and exactly what it was that this family was scared of.
Final Verdict: IT COMES AT NIGHT is almost all set-up for a payoff that never comes. I would probably not be as bothered by that if the trailer hadn’t made it seem like this was an entirely different film than it actually was. The grim mood worked for the film and the cast did solid work but I went into this expecting a horror movie and got an unrelentingly depressing psychological thriller/family drama instead.