Sunday, October 01, 2017

It Comes at Night (2017)

So what if you had all the supplies, the fortified dwelling, when the world all goes to shit.

A family of four looks like it had things all figured out. Paul (Joel Edgerton), Sarah (Carmen Elizabeth Ejogo), and Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) are hiding out in the woods inside a nice big cabin.

It’s not a bunker but they designed it too be. All other entrances including windows are closed and fortified; everyone uses one red door going in and out. The woods offer chances of growing food maybe raise animals if available. Most importantly the cabin is far from a population center, that is until Will (Christopher Abbott) and his family ruined the plan.

And that’s it; the story didn’t go beyond the family and the stranger’s family. It Comes at Night never came close to identifying what ‘it’ was.


There was a setup at the beginning when Paul had to dispose of Bud (David Pendleton) his own father in law. The old man had rashes on the skin, looking very sickly and wheezing. After saying goodbyes to Sarah and Travis, Paul finished the business with a headshot and burned the body. After that it was all anticipation.

It can be hated as a design flaw. Why leave out what the protagonists fear the most? I became so hungry for knowing what comes at night that I wouldn’t mind at all if it turned out to be a clown. Indeed there was a few minutes after finishing it all that I feel cheated, unable to see anything, not even a clown.

The trick is to see the movie beyond its marketing which can be hard because the title refers to the never revealed it. If memory serves, this movie first came to my attention as a horror flick. Was that maintained all throughout its screening I’m not sure. Maybe it was the similar sounding movie that gave the horror angle a new life when it shouldn’t.

After a few minutes of disappointment I appreciated what’s in front of me. It Comes at Night is more a science fiction than horror. 

The monster in Paul and his family’s imagination was never the point, how they reacted to the world is. There's a disease that has no cure; chaos and famine followed.

I love the acting. I feel the family, the desperation, the isolation. 

How would people react except to dig a hole, hide in it, and hope to weather things out? Paul doesn't even know what's beyond the woods.

In this light the design flaw of never revealing what it is, is just being human. The night is to be avoided because you don’t know what’s out there. The night is dark and full of terrors – says another show.

Opening with Bud dying and subsequently disposed of was suggestive of the Walking Dead. Call it a flaw; call it deceitful; because I was expecting zombies that. Who’s to say people of a future pandemic won’t have zombies in their nightmares as well like witches and vampires were in the days of old. 


Travis’ line is the one that brings it all into focus: “You don’t get it. If they’re sick, then I am too.”

So what if you had all the supplies, the fortified dwelling, when the world all goes to shit. 

Using a Walking Dead reference, it's all about the deer.

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