Review: It Comes at Night


A24’s latest film is the psychological thriller It Comes at Night. Written and directed by Trey Edward Shults, the stroy follows Paul (Joel Edgerton) and his family during an unexplained plague that’s infecting the country. Paul, his wife Sarah (Carmen Ejogo), and son Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) are living in a cabin somewhere in the woods, far away from civilization.

One night, Paul catches a passerby named Will (Christopher Abbott) breaking into their house. After knocking Will out and leaving him tied to a tree overnight, Paul finds out Will was looking for supplies to help care for his wife and young son. Paul and Sarah decide it would be a good idea to have Will and his family join them in the house.

Will and his family learn there’s rules in the house –  one rule is the red door is the only way in and out, it must stay locked and closed at all times. After the door is found open, paranoia and fear consume both men as they try and protect their families.

It Comes at Night is being categorized as a “horror” film. It’s more of a thriller with some horror elements. Despite the creepy advertising and spine chilling trailer,  there are no scary monsters, things that go bump in the night, ghost, or villains. One of the tags is “Fear turns men into monsters” and that’s precisely what the movie is about.

Just like AMC’s The Walking Dead, the monster isn’t whatever contagious plague is sweeping the nation, the monster is what people are willing to do to survive, what they’re willing to do to protect the people they love, and the moral gray areas people create that justify their actions.

What the film lacks in traditional horror scares, it makes up for with plenty of tense moments, tons of uncertainty, and a few gut wrenching scenes. The dialogue between characters are the only hints the film gives about what’s going on and if characters are being paranoid or if their actions are justified.

It’s not all boring post apocalyptic talk, there’s plenty of action. Not to mention, the sequence at the end of the film is both terrifying and depressing. It’s an ending that’s guaranteed to stay with audiences for a while.

It Comes At Night is another A24 offering that’s different than anything currently in theaters. It’s an nontraditional way to tell a story about the real horrors in the world. It’s a unique original story and an uncomfortable watch.  It’s not what’s on screen that will make people uncomfortable, it’s inserting yourself into the story and asking, “What would I do if that was me?” The answer may be the most terrifying part of the movie.

Grade: B