A title such as It Comes At Night would suggest that Trey Edwards Shults has created an all out horror but that is far from what you get as nothing can prepare you for the submerging into a vat of tension and paranoia that constantly raises questions of intrigue never quite giving you that answer your so longing for, what would you do to save your family?
Set in an apocalyptic future, buried deep in the woods of an undisclosed location, something terrible has happened to the world around us. A deathly virus has taken hold which consumes its victims at lightning speed. It’s each man and family for themselves in a battle for survival, where laws are of no consequence and human morality is broken down to its very core with suspicion looming large against strangers that emerge out of the shadows.
The focal point of the narrative centres on one fearful yet well prepared family, the bearded Paul (Joel Edgerton) at the head of the family with his wife Sarah (Carmen Ejogo) who is equally paranoid but a hot shot behind the barrel of a gun, and son Travis (Kelvin Harris Jr, who is prone to insomnia and wanders the house alone at night. When he does eventually sleep, his dreams are consumed with nothing but terror. It’s due to these terrors that at times you are left wondering is this all just part of his dreams. Quarantined within their sprawling cabin in the woods, food is as scarce as the company, if venturing anywhere they done their masks and gloves to ward off any infection. It’s clear to see from the very outset of the film, Travis is traumatised by the events of what has happened and especially so when he has to help his Father carry his grandfather to the middle of the woods and kill him after he is infected with the ‘illness’.
It’s not long before someone breaks into their home causing panic amongst the family, the culprit, Will (Christopher Abbot) giving the explanation that he was only looking for shelter and water for his own family. After the offer of a trade of food for water Paul reluctantly agrees to take the family into their home but trust issues never go away as Paul foremost fears for his family’s life. The two family’s seemingly start to bond, Paul and Will fight for their cause to stay alive by undertaking patrols and wood chopping sessions, Whilst Travis builds a friendship with Will’s wife and his young son, however, Paul feels there isn’t something quite right as Will’s child is prone to sleepwalking eventually leading into Paul implementing drastic measures.
Even though a physical threat is constantly hinted at, nothing materialises but a constant foreboding flooding every tension-filled moment, there are no plot twists and we don’t even reach a satisfying ending but the nagging question of who do you trust, who can you trust lays at the very foundation of a mesmerising film.
It Comes at Night is released July 7th.
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Trey Edward Shults
STARS: Joel Edgerton, Carmen Ejogo, Christopher Abbot
RUNTIME: 91 Mins