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  • Writer's pictureDenise Breen

"It Comes at Night" - really?

Whenever I hear or read the title of this film, It Comes At Night, I immediately think of Newt from Aliens: "they mostly come at night, mostly". HR Giger's creations are infinitely scarier and more entertaining than this rambling nonsense written and directed by Trey Edward Shults.

This is Shults' sophomore feature outing. He won acclaim for his debut feature Krisha in 2015 which promised great things to come from this new screen-writer and director. Sadly It Comes At Night is not it. Billed and advertised as a horror movie, full credit has to go to whomever edited the trailer which sold this as something scarier than it is. In reality, an encounter with the Daleks is scarier.

The story focuses on a family holed up in a house in the woods, hiding from an external threat which we later find out is a plague of sorts. It's not a zombie plague, which would have been a major misstep, it's more of the boil and pestilence kind. They encounter a young family one night when the father breaks into the house. Both families decide to live together and make a go of survival. Tensions rise. Paranoia increases and things don't go too well. The film dribbles towards an ending.

Joel Edgerton plays Paul, the patriarch of the house, married to Sarah (Carmen Ejogo, who we last saw in the excellent Selma) and they have a son Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr) who wanders about the film in a perpetual catatonic state. Christopher Abbott is the father of the second family and is married to Kim (Riley Keough). They have a three year old son, Andrew. Roles and motivations are simple. Back-stories are scant. Futures look bleak.

Act I has Family No. 1 living in their house in the woods, burying their father/grandfather and eking out an existence until they meet Family No. 2. Act II has both families learning to live and work together and protect each other but never quite trusting each other. Act III see the paranoia set in and they decide to part company with devastating results. An episode of The Walking Dead is better written, has more tension, scares and drama than this.

There is nothing to see here. Move along.

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