Sunday 23 July 2017

It Comes at Night by Trey Edward Shults

To paraphrase Groucho Marx, "There's nothing like a great horror movie... and this is nothing like a great horror movie."

It's not that it's bad, exactly, it's just that it's utterly inconsequential... 

The cast is strong, though, with the reliable Joel Edgerton in the lead as Paul. Edgerton himself is a writer-director who has crafted a good suspense/horror film (The Gift), but he is just an actor here.

The movie is written and directed by Trey Edward Shults. The set up is that a terrible plague has swept the world. Paul and his family have sensibly isolated themselves in a cabin in the woods.

When an outsider turns up (Christopher Abbott as Will) they assume he is an interloper who has come to steal from them — clean water is a valuable resource. 

But Will says he has a vulnerable family who are waiting for him...

Paul decides to give them a chance and Will's family move in with our heroes. But can we trust them?

It's a perfectly viable set up for a suspenseful tale, and there are some effective sequences. 

But the script is threadbare. The cheapest gimmick in any horror movie is to throw in a dream sequence to provide a shock. This movie does this not once, but five or six times. 

It seems to be the only trick available to the writer.

It Comes at Night is big disappointment. If you want a horror movie which really does the job, and is a masterpiece into the bargain, see Get Out by Jordan Peele. 

It Comes at Night would never have ranked very high, but coming in the wake of that classic, it hardly exists at all.

I liked the dog, Stanley, though....

(Image credits: only three posters at Imp Awards. The alternate poster with a tree comes from Lil Wayne.)

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