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It Comes at Night


Stars: Joel Edgerton, Christopher Abbott, Carmen Ejogo, Riley Keough, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Griffin Robert Faulkner, David Pendleton

Director: Trey Edward Shults

Another week, another horror movie: Cinema’s most resilient genre rides again, sure of a dedicated audience of shockfilm addicts and, then all too often, destined for minor Gothic movie festivals before turning up on late night television.

Writer-director Shults’ scary story of a family hiding out in their isolated home and forced to defend themselves and fight for survival after an apocalyptic plague cause chaos throughout civilization racks up considerable suspense on a patently low budget with star Edgerton – well cast as the paterfamilias – doubling up as executive producer.

His comment “You can't trust anyone but family” underscores the essential plotline (apart from a genuinely shocking punch-in-the-gut opening sequence where a woman, about to commit a familial murder, apologizes with "I love you dad. I do. I'm so sorry".

The family feel semi-safe living in their isolated home until, unexpectedly, their hideout is discovered by a young family who seek safety with them, cueing increasing suspense and stark scares…

Shults (well complemented by Drew Daniels’ atmospheric cinematography and a suitably moody score by Brian McOmber) delivers strong suspense and scares on a patently low budget, creating a shocker with more impact and intelligent scaremongering than its storyline and un-starry cast might promise.

Asked if he minded if It Comes by Night was called an intellectual horror movie, Shults (who expressed his admiration for Kubrick’s (for me) rather overrated shocker The Shining) replied “No, that sounds cool… That sounds right to me”.

And all that without Nicholson and Shelley Duvall too!

Alan Frank

USA 2017. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour.
91 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 23 Jul 2017