They tell me that it comes at night, but does it really? There are some pretty good reviews for It Comes at Night on official critic websites, but when it came to user reviews, there was a lot of hatred and confusion as to why the critics praised it. Whenever you have such a big difference between the two, I feel obligated to hand in my two cents about the film and if I personally understand the love. Well, let’s get into that. Let’s first start with the plot.
Secluded in their boarded-up house nestled deep in the gloomy and dangerous forest, Paul, his wife Sarah and their son Travis are hiding from the world, condemned in a strict self-quarantine after the sudden outbreak of a virulent and fatally communicative disease. Under those circumstances, interaction with the outside world is brief and only when necessary, however, the already fragile balance of things will be abruptly disturbed, when a family in distress seeking food and shelter will inevitably settle in Paul’s house. In the end, as the uneasy coexistence between the two families drags on, mistrust and then paranoia will begin to prevail, in a volatile environment where the enemy could be anyone, even themselves. – IMDb
The first thing you have to understand is that the critics didn’t rate it as highly as most people think. Both Metacritic and RottenTomatoes have it scored in the mid-70s range, which is still decent. However, you still have a lot of hate from normal theater attendees. You have to ask yourself if the movie is actually bad or if it is more high-brow and confusing to some folks. In my experience, high-brow isn’t really something you need in horror films. Simplicity is better for horror, so what exactly do we have here?
I believe this film mostly focuses on anxiety and paranoia rather than fear, but it misses out on one major thing – telling us what’s out there. Look, I’m all for the use of our creative minds to come up with the worst possible scenario, but you have to give us some kind of idea. Just saying people are getting sick isn’t enough. You need to know what happens after the sickness settles in. Do they just die, are they just contagious, do they turn into zombies, what happens? Unfortunately, the film does very little in explaining what’s going on in the world. The movies that don’t show you anything usually do a good job explaining a legend or something to kick start your creative thinking. The Blair Witch Project told us the tale of the witch, Paranormal Activity showed us website articles about the different kind of demons, telling us exactly what kind of demon they are dealing with. This really didn’t do anything…which made a majority of the film seem like a waste.
These are just my first impressions, though. Let’s go ahead and break It Comes at Night down to interpret the stars!
Title – It Comes At Night
Year – 2017
Genres – Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Possible Awards – Disappointing
PEOPLE SCORE – 6/10
Acting – 2|Characters – 1|Casting – 1|Importance – 1|Chemistry – 1
First up, we have the people category, starting off with the subcategory of acting, and thankfully, the acting was noticeably great. The characters were okay, but I won’t be remembering them forever. I think everyone did a fine job in the role, but that doesn’t mean they were the only actor for the job. In this film, there were characters that certainly held independent importance and purpose, but not enough. The main characters basically held the importance while everyone else sorta of blended together. As far as the chemistry goes in this film, there wasn’t much of it. While it was fine, no one really cares about the relationships in this film.
WRITING SCORE – 5/10
Dialogue – 1|Balanced – 1|Story – 1|Originality – 1|Interesting – 1
Next up, we have the writing category, starting off with the dialogue subcategory…which was as unremarkable and forgettable as the meal you had last Tuesday afternoon. Now, this film isn’t as well-balanced as it could’ve easily been. It loses its own focus here and there, making the film feel a little bit longer than it should normally feel. When it comes to the actual story, I can’t really say it’s the best. It’s got a few things here and there that I think a lot of people will enjoy, but it’s certainly not the greatest story ever told. Is the film original? Well, I think elements of the film definitely feel fresh and new, but there’s always an itching feeling that we’ve seen this film before…so it’s not as original as it could’ve been. I’d say I was interested enough to watch the film, but as I watched the movie, my interested died down pretty rapidly and was gone before the film ended.
BTS SCORE – 7/10
Visuals – 2|Directing – 2|Editing – 1|Advertisement – 1|Music – 1
Next up, we’re taking a look behind-the-scenes, starting with the visuals, and the visuals were pretty darn great here. Somebody knew what they were doing. The director actually did a really good job here. Completely based off of what they did, the movie looks and feels great and authentic on a different level. Well done! Nothing challenging or difficult in the editor’s desk, folks. They stitched the movie together just fine, but there’s nothing else to report here because even a kid could probably do it. When it comes to the advertisement, you might expect the film to be slightly different than what it is, but it’s not something terrible…just different. There wasn’t anything fancy or memorable about the music. It was basically as good as it needed to be in order to keep the tone in place…and that’s what they did here, as well.
NARRATIVE ARC SCORE – 6/10
Introduction – 2|Inciting Incident – 1|Obstacles – 2|Climax – 1|Falling Action – 0
Next up, we’re chugging right along into the narrative arc category, which is one of the easiest categories to score highly in. First up, we’re looking at the introduction, which did perfectly. By the inciting incident, we knew who everyone was, the basic setting, and what’s going on in these people’s lives. How about the inciting incident? It was okay, I’ll put it that way. It wasn’t really all that clear because you never really feel like there is a ‘never going back’ moment, but it is what it is. How were the obstacles? Totally fine. There were plenty of clear obstacles in the way, just as you’d come to expect. How was the climax? It was okay, a little anticlimactic overall because it didn’t feel like any culmination of everything else put together. Finally, what about the falling action? Truthfully, the movie really just ended right there. There was no real calming down moment, nor a return to the new norm, so…take that as you will.
ENTERTAINMENT SCORE – 1/10
Rewatchability – 0|Fun – 0|Impulse/Buy – 0|Impulse/Talk – 0|Sucks Audience IN – 1
Now, we get to ask the age-old question on if this movie is even entertaining! It’s not the best start since I wouldn’t rewatch it if my life depended on it. Okay, that’s a bit harsh, but I honestly don’t see me ever looking for it in order to see it again. What about its ability to b fun? Sorry, but this movie is about as boring as it gets. I didn’t have fun watching it, I wanted to stop it and leave! Do I have any impulse to buy it? No way, Jose! What about talking to somebody about the film that hasn’t heard of it? I really have no impulse to tell anybody about it, honestly. Does this suck you in, though? Maybe in certain parts, but definitely not throughout.
SPECIALTY SCORE – 10/50
Horror – 0|Mystery – 0|Thriller – 0|Title Specific – 5|Halfway Decent – 5
Onto the specialty questions that I asked before seeing the film. First of all, the three genres IMDb places this film under is horror, mystery, and thriller. I would like to know how these genres work out for this film. Number one, horror. There isn’t anything in this film that feels scary or worthy of the horror name. Next up, we have mystery, and the only mystery we have in this film is…why? Which doesn’t count. Next, we have the thriller genre, and the film is more boring than thrilling. So, what genre should it fit under? Maybe drama, but even that’s a little wonky. Okay, so what comes at night? I guess…a guy? But who cares? You think something else will show up at night, but it’s really just a guy – half points there. Next up, we ask if it’s halfway decent. For that, I’ll just say it’s a quarter decent, so only half points there. If they had just explained a few more things in the film, it’d probably be halfway decent, but it doesn’t.