Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Movie Review: It Comes at Night

Something is out in the darkness in Trey Edward Schults's creepy thriller. There is a sickness that spreads fast taking the first victim in the first scene, the grandfather Bud (David Pendleton). Father and son, Paul (Joel Edgerton) and Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) take me him out and burn him to stop infection while Sarah (Carmen Ejogo) mourns the loss of her father. Travis has strange dreams filled with horrifying images and shadows. He's awakened from his nightmare by his father because there is an intruder in the house. Paul disarms the man who is trying to burst through the door and ties him up outside.

Will (Christopher Abbott) is the intruder. He tells Paul that he thought the house was abandoned and that he has a family in a house about 50 miles away. Paul doesn't trust anyone and is skeptical of Will's story especially when Will claims not to see anything on his way to the house, but Sarah and Travis convince him that they should check out his story. Paul and Will travel out to the abandoned house but encounter attackers along the way. They return with Will's family, his wife Kim (Riley Keough) and their son Andrew (Griffin Robert Faulkner). They are allowed to move and are told the rules, including about the only exit and its two locked doors.

Travis continues to have weird visions at night as the new family settles into a routine. They brought chickens and a goat with them that serve as a new source of food. Will teaches Travis how to chop wood. Travis finds himself attracted to Kim as she is the only other woman around. There are only brief mentions of what is happening in the outside world but whenever Paul encounters any possibility of contagion. Travis's dog Stanley runs off into the woods and goes missing. Travis was convinced he saw something out in the woods when he ran after the dog. The next night, Travis finds Andrew sleep walking. He takes the boy back to his parents and finds the door is open. Stanley is in the room, sick and bleeding. 

The group discusses the situation, and Paul realizes that Andrew could be sick. The two families agree to split up and wait to see if any of them show symptoms. Travis's dreams grow worse and he wakes up to hear Andrew crying. He tells his father and Paul goes to Will and Kim only to find the two families at odds for the remainder of the food. Will wants to leave with his family but Paul knows he'll return, desperate for food and water. The confrontation leads to the death of Will, Kim, and Andrew but Travis knows he was infected by Andrew. The ending is a bit ambiguous with Paul and Sarah sitting at the table.

The movie is full of dread and anxiety-inducing moments from the slow movements of the camera and closeup shots and a haunting soundtrack. The tension rises at each moment and I kept waiting for something to happen in terror as the story played out. The experience of this movie is something unique that I haven't felt in a thriller in some time. I found all of the acting great, Edgerton brings his usual talent and the rest of the cast are all great. Kelvin Harrison Jr. really does a great job as well. Nothing like a great indie horror film to help dilute the lagging blockbusters of summer.

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