Rogue Hippo’s Review Score: 7.5

I went to see It Comes at Night on a whim, and I have to say it left me disappointed.  However, the more I think about it, the more I realize how clever it is.  So, let’s break down It Comes at Night!

it-comes-at-night-poster
As usual, I’ll keep it spoiler-free until the end.

You should probably watch the trailer:

Vague… yet intriguing.  What is the threat?  Is it zombies?  A viral outbreak?  Some sort of monster in the forest?  I’d like to tell you, but not knowing is part of the appeal of the film.  Instead, here’s a quick plot summary:

PLOT- Paul, Sarah and their 17 year-old son Travis have managed to survive a deadly event that has wiped out most of humanity.  Their remote cabin is well-equipped for survival, but things change when they encounter another family of survivors.  Suspicions are high, and everyone is on edge, as each individual is forced to ask how for they would go to protect their family from the danger that surrounds them.

I know, that’s still pretty vague, but I can’t tell you any more because part of the appeal of the movie is not knowing what’s out there.  I can tell you that It Comes at Night kept me on the edge of my seat all the way until the end.  The tension and suspense were continuous throughout the entire film.  This is a very real film, which only adds to the tension as you put yourself in the shoes of the protagonists and wonder how you would handle each life-threatening situation.  I’m not talking about the usual “What would you do in a zombie apocalypse?” kind of questions.  It Comes at Night forces you to look at much more difficult questions.  For example: your family is dying of thirst, my family has water, what would you do to get it?  The threat from your fellow man is as deadly as the threat from the unknown.  Other movies have touched on this concept, but few have done it so well.

I also really appreciated how much the director was able to do with so little.  This movie is a perfect example of the total being greater than the sum of it’s parts.  The set, props, make-up, camera-work and score are all perfectly simple; but the final movie is able to affect you in ways that movies with 20 times the budget are unable to do.

The acting is also exceptional.  Everyone is just trying to survive while teetering on the edge of breaking down.  You really get a sense of despair as death could come at any time, and from anywhere.  Travis is especially excellent and spends much of the film visibly shaken and distraught without saying much at all.  You really feel for him and his situation.  The performances will stick with you long after the credits.

In the end, this is a good movie; but one you can probably pass on until it shows up on DVD.  The big screen is always nice but being surrounded by a large audience really takes away from the isolation that needs to be felt while watching this film.  I recommend you wait for the DVD, then watch it at night for optimal results.


***SPOILERS BELOW***


I was initially disappointed for two reasons:

  • The end is abrupt and leaves you hanging.  Nothing is resolved.  There is no clue to the origin of the outbreak.  You don’t get any answers about anything.  You don’t even get to see what happens to the family.
  • I feel that the trailer is intentionally deceptive.  It gives the impression that this is possibly a zombie movie, or maybe a monsters-in-the-forest movie.  Nope.  There IS a deadly virus but there are no zombies and there are no monsters.  The real monsters are humans.

The main thing I grew to like about the movie:

  • The real monsters are humans.  I must admit that I went to this movie wanting to see a creature-feature or a zombie flick, and I was pretty disappointed that there were none; but I’ve come to realize that this is the genius of It Comes at Night.  You are constantly worried about what’s outside, in the darkness, when you suddenly realize that the real danger is next to you inside the house.

 

Well, that’s it.  If you’ve seen It Comes at Night, feel free to agree, or disagree, with me.  Leave your comments below or on Twitter @Rogue_Hippo.

Until Next Time,

Rogue Hippo