It’s an evening like most others as the Screening Room crew gathers at KFHS. Mad Mike has hung an “I Want to Believe” poster, his radar dish whirling so rapidly that smoke is beginning to rise from it’s base. DJ TV now has finished his strange symbols written in red liquid and his candles are arranged around them. He has brought a goat, a sheaf of wheat, 4 balls of yarn, 3 eggs, a sack of leaves, and a skull. It appears he’s having a deep conversation with the skull. Foxx Jackson ,still unaware of his unfaithfulness to headset #4, is wearing it as normal. Headset #4, still angry, has exposed some of its wires and placed a very full glass of water on the table in front of Foxx. As the clock strikes 6:30, the crew dims the lights and launches into “It Comes at Night.”
Trey Shults’ “It Comes at Night” is the tale of a man named Paul (Joel Edgerton), his wife Sarah (Carmen Ejogo), and their son Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr.). Paul and family live in a cabin deep in the wilderness after an unknown plague has ravaged the world. Little is known about the plague, how it is contracted or spread, or what exactly it does once a person is infected. However, the family has managed to create a sustainable life alone in the woods and thus far have been living as comfortable as one can during/after the apocalypse. The tranquility is abruptly shatter one night when a man, Will (Christopher Abbot), breaks into their home, supposedly looking for food and shelter for his own family. “It Comes at Night” is a study of the darkness, paranoia, and mistrust inside us all.
This review is NOT spoiler heavy. However, the Screening Room recommends “It Comes at Night” without any preconceptions.
“I’ll just start out by saying, the marketing for this movie is not the best” says co-host DJ Mad Mike and to his credit, “It Comes at Night” is not at all what it appears. It’s a deeply complex film filled with difficult themes and whole heap of ambiguity. “The more I think about the marketing, the more I’m ok with it” counters Foxx Jackson “I assumed things based on the trailer, although I had no reason to, and watching the film I was just terrified waiting for these assumptions to pop up.” “That’s kinda the movie’s whole theme” offers DJ TV “the less you know, the better.” Truly, this is a movie that needs to be approached without preconceptions. If you’re really into fast-paced jumpy flicks like “The Conjuring” or “Insidious” turn back now (unless you also enjoy slow burn stuff, then stick around). “It Comes at Night” is really the definition of a slow burn movie, clocking in at only 91 minutes, it milks every second for dramatic effect. Which is part of the beauty of this movie, nothing is particularly dramatized, it’s a very human film.
“I had some dissonance going on after” states Mad Mike “there’s a lot of ambiguity, unanswered questions.” This is one of the film’s greatest strengths and weaknesses. Some viewers may relish this opportunity to come to their own conclusions and avoid the force-feeding so common of mainstream media. Others however, may find the open-endedness to be cheap and unfulfilling and might take it as a sign of poor writing. “I just wish there was a few more things he dropped for us to put together” says DJ TV “maybe give us some clues in the background.” If there are background clues, they are extremely well hidden. The plot of “It Comes at Night” is a difficult subject to tackle, it’s both very straightforward and yet difficult to pin down. Is it the story of man who will go to any length to keep his family safe? Or is it a darker tale about a selfish and egotistical patriarch?
“It looks freakin’ creepy as crap” exclaims Foxx Jackson “it’s beautiful, I found that I was always discomforted in the best way possible.” “It Comes at Night” certainly doesn’t lack for looks. The woods the family lives in is reminiscent of films like “The Witch.” We really have no reason to be uncomfortable, yet we can’t help but feel something is out there watching. The house is equally disturbing. The shadows are deep, the light is always just a little too dim, the camera slowly meanders about its numerous corridors giving us the sense the we are actually creeping around someone else’s house.
The Screening Room rates on a scale of:
“I think it’s a good experience, but the more I think about it there’s so many threads that never connect. One fact doesn’t support the case of another, you can’t ever solve the mystery and I think that’s the point. However, does that make it a good movie…? I think if you can see it in theaters I’d say go watch it, but I’m not sure it’s really a rewatch kind of movie.” – DJ TV
“It does really have an impact the first time you watch it. I could definitely see how someone could hate this movie, because if it isn’t tense and unnerving for you then it’s probably just confusing. It has great cinematography, great lighting, great acting, but there are no answers, it’s all open ended. Frankly, I think that’s kind of lame the more I think about it. It’s ok to have some evidence for different interpretations, but this movie doesn’t have enough evidence for anything. It’s a neat experience though, so I’ll have to give it a watch it.” – Mad Mike
“It was a weird sort of movie. The evening after watching it I felt so paranoid, like I had to be a hermit because I couldn’t talk to anybody or trust people. The more I think about the ambiguity the more I want to go back and look for things, it really makes me even more curious given all the possibilities. I think it looks great as well, I was terrified throughout. I would have to give it a buy it, just because I can see myself watching it over time, trying to establish more theories.” – Foxx Jackson
“It Comes at Night” is Screening Room approved as Watch It.
You can catch the Screening Room Tuesday nights at 6:30 pm, only on KFHS Radio.