It Comes At Night Review

10 Jun

On a technical level, this is a fun little exercise in the manipulation of space. Shults and d.p. Drew Daniels have a clear vision for what they want their set to become on screen, their use of wide lenses in tight spaces meshing well with their lighting and blocking and changing aspect ratios. Their quintessential image consists of the camera dollying toward a red door, the focal point of the entire film because of what it represents: an unknown that we’re drawn to. Shults seems to be a proponent of the idea that what is unknown may be the most terrifying thing of all, and he does his best to try to build tension with that in mind.

Here’s the catch: as admirable of an effort as it is, there’s a point where minimalism may be mistaken for profundity on the filmmaker’s part, and I think this film crosses that line a few times. It’s not that we need concrete answers; it’s more so that we need a reason to care, and allowing us more insight into the characters and the world they’re inhabiting is a method by which that can be accomplished. What we have here is a blender full of interesting themes–family, desperation, guilt, etc., all of which were tackled better in Krisha–within an interesting framework, but there’s really not much more to it than that. Aside from the wonderful opening and closing scenes, the film lies in an awkward middle ground between its marketing and its director’s true loyalties. In essence, the hallucination/dream sequences are unnecessary “horror film” additions, and the family drama is half-baked and oftentimes uninteresting. This could’ve been great, but it instead is a slight misfire from a nevertheless very promising young director. Krisha was a masterful, stylized high-wire act, but Shults’s sophomore effort gets lost in its own restraint. At least my love Riley Keough is in this (watch The Girlfriend Experience for an incredible performance from her).



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