It Comes At Night
It Comes at Night looks into a small group of people surviving in the woods after an unknown disease has presumably wiped out most of humanity. Bleak settings and spreading infections are no strangers to the horror genre, but a couple telegraphed jump scares aside, the film does not have too many elements to warrant the ‘horror’ description many are using. A better description would be psychological thriller/family drama, sprinkled with shades of horror.
Much like director/writer Trey Edward Shults breakout debut Krisha, It Comes at Night excels at placing the audience in the middle of a close-knit environment. Dynamics and relationships are effortlessly established, while Schultz slowly increases anxiety and tension. Like the parable of the frog placed in a pot of tepid water, viewers will be trapped, unable to look away by the time the boiling point is reached.
A variety of masterfully crafted shots makes use of the film’s limited setting. Darks and shadows inside the safe house reflect the films increasingly claustrophobic nature. Outside of the main house, endless forest shots in both day and night reinforce the isolation of the group from whatever humanity is left.
These aspects by themselves are again nothing special, but Shults utilizes a creative mix of pattern and subtlety. Like the characters in the movie who goes through routine after routine as a way of establishing order among pandemic chaos, Shults goes through repeats certain cues adding or subtracting elements to emphasize conflict. This is understandably where a major source of the general audience might be lost as many might see these choices as needlessly repetitive or dull.
The latter parts of the film are especially populated with a mixing different visual formats with dream sequences and logic. I think a little bit of restraint from experimentation would have made the film more palatable without losing the momentum it had been building. There’s definitely a lot of material to be analyzed on further viewings but the delivery of it will turn others off from ever visiting the film again. Ultimately, It Comes at Night takes many creative risks at delivering a familiar story and is worth your time if you want something a little different and don't mind having every detail explained.
It Comes at Night
Director: Trey Edward Shults
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