Movie Review: It Comes at Night

June does not look good for movies. While Wonder Woman and It Comes at Night were the exception, the rest of the month is a no go for me. Cars 3 and Despicable Me 3 look like poison, Transformers 5 requires no explanation, and some true stories and comedies I do not want to see. Until Baby Driver comes out on the 29th, I will be ignoring everything else because Edgar Wright is a genius. I might see Megan Leavey because military and dogs. Was It Comes a good start to a dower month or should you see Wonder Woman again?

After an epidemic destroys civilization, a family out in the woods takes extra precautions to ensure their safety. Their simple lives turn upside down when they invite another family to stay with them.

Whatever you think It Comes is, you are wrong. The homeless-apocalypse has many tropes you can easily predict like its base genre, post-apocalypse. You know there is going to be dark subject matter and terrible things will happen to the characters. If you have seen The Road, read Walking Dead, or played The Last of Us, you have an idea of what will happen in It Comes and that is what the film is trying to do.

Paranoia plays a big part in the horror and setting. The virus in question is airborne and if you know anything about diseases, airborne is the worst. You can get it just by breathing or being near someone who is infected. Even then you cannot be sure if they are sick or if you are sick until you start showing symptoms. The characters know this and are well aware of the possibility of infection.

The conflicts deal with their survival and fear of getting sick. The characters stick to a schedule and rules that must be followed lest they risk death. Then they have to consider what other people will do to them in the event they are attacked. Many scenes are all about the characters questioning each other, arguing about breaking the rules, and trying to get a one up because they have no idea what the other group is trying to do. The individual conflicts would have been boring had the performance been less than stellar.

At the same time, as an audience member, you have your own expectations because you have seen movies. You have an inkling of what might happen and are constantly changing it up as the film progresses. In that way, It Comes puts you in the characters’ shoes. A hundred different things are going through their heads because they are so afraid and you are always thinking about what is going on. The movie is meta in this way because you are doing the same thing.

With small films it matters not the what, but the how. How movies are made is what sets them apart. While It Comes is not unlike your average post-apocalypse, it is made in a way that makes its special. The use of light and darkness is just incredible. In scenes of heavy blacks there is only one light source emanating from the characters. It conveys a sense of isolation that they experience living in such cramped quarters in the middle of nowhere. It also adds to the horror of not knowing what may be happening in the thick void around them.

It Comes at Night is borderline amazing. It is not the next best thing, but still impressive. As another annual good horror film following Witch from 2016, it does its job. It reaffirms my faith that not all contemporary horror movies are total trash and a select few creative people know what they are doing. I highly recommend giving it a look if you are a fan of the genre and post-apocalypse.

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