Audrey E., here….
Fear comes in many forms, but sometimes the most frightening horrors are the things we cannot see: the unknown. Trey Edward Shults, the Texas filmmaker who brought us his critically acclaimed SXSW debut (Krisha) in 2015, is back with his sophomore effort, ‘It Comes at Night.’ This flick is a high suspense mastery of smothering isolation, paranoia and unnatural evils. It prickles the senses and keeps the boiling tensions of dread so high, you might forget to breathe!
Terrified it’s the end of the world after losing their quarantined elder to a mysterious illness, a courageous wife, father and teenage son, already equipped with gas masks, an armory and lanterns, decide to take extreme precautions by boarding up their desolate home. With the bidding of the father, Paul (Joel Edgerton), the family determinedly creates a domestic command, doing their best to ignore the unexplained danger infecting the outside world and the ominous noises of the surrounding woods.
Cradled by a false sense of comfort, the family continues with their routine until their son, Travis (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.), who suffers from nightmarish insomnia, bursts into his parents room one night shouting, “There’s someone in the house!” Injected with panic, Sarah (Carmen Ejogo), Paul and their dog rush to the caving red door, only to find someone (or something) is trying to break in. With their guns drawn, the family opens the entrance and discovers a desperate man seeking refuge for his family. But after taking the travelers in with good intentions, things start to go awry with suspicion and both families are faced with the ultimate challenge of endurance.
‘It Comes at Night‘ is an inventive film that rifles in the subtleties and focuses on scaring you with the nameless. It plays on the petrification of buildup and twists the knot of your anxieties until they’re nested in your stomach. Schults’ lighting and camerawork help add a type of foggy paralysis to the grim dreamscapes of Travis, and the figurative use of a red door cleverly personifies the lingering evil stalking the family from beyond.
There’s an admirable craft to leaving the audience satisfied despite unanswered questions, and ‘It Comes at Night‘ manages to tap into the darkness without revealing more than what’s necessary. This movie will haunt you hours after you’ve left the theater and you’ll never quite shake off that unsettling sweat of the final scene.