Movie Review: ‘It Comes at Night’

Director: Trey Edward Shults

Cast: Joel Edgerton, Christopher Abbott, Carmen Ejogo, Riley Keough, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Griffin Robert Faulkner

Plot: Two families share a house deep in the woods, trying to survive a highly contagious viral outbreak that has destroyed the population.

Review: As I said in my review for Waves, I’ve had this movie waiting on my to-do list for a long time. Waves intrigued me enough to give it a bump and see what else Trey Edward Shults is capable of.

We join the story after a disease has run rampant through the United States. The exact details of this contamination or the impact it has does not come up in the movie, as the exact nature of the disaster is incidental, as this is a movie about a group of people facing a desperate and dire situation. The fact that it is a highly contagious illness makes the movie more topical that it was when released three years ago…and makes it more difficult viewing. It’s not clear where the movie takes place, but it is clear that out family of three are very isolated and are taking extreme steps to protect themselves. We start with Sarah’s (Ejogo) father succumbing to the illness, and the body being burned by bemasked Paul (Edgerton).

The story starts proper when the family are woken by an intruder, Will (Abbott), whom the take capture and take precautions to ensure that he’s not a threat or infected. They learn that Will and his family have some farm animals, but are low on supplies. Although they’re careful not to show each other too much trust, they do agree on the value of working together and bring Will’s family to their home.

What this film sets up is a microcosm of people attempting to survive a deadly pandemic, each attempting to protect their own families over anything else. It’s a very well staged horrifying drama where paranoia, distrust, hope and fear jostle for positions in the forefront of everyone’s minds. Joel Edgerton leads the cast with a strong performance, with Kelvin Harrison Jr. being the stand-out – little wonder that he returned for Waves. Everyone gives subtle performances, heightening the experience in a more effective manner than the shrieking of the similarly themed Birdbox.

Like with Waves, we feel that Trey Edward Shults is a good, artistic director who is yet to find his own distinct voice. This is a grim tale, and Shults is one to watch. This may be altogether too grim for many people still living in areas highly affected by the current, real world pandemic, but worthwhile for horror fans.

Rating: SEVEN out of TEN