It Comes At Night

By Angie Raphael

4 stars

This post-apocolyptic psychological thriller is very mysterious and has a relatively open-ended conclusion worth pondering. Written and directed by Trey Edward Shults, It Comes At Night is about 17-year-old Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr), who lives with his parents Paul (Joel Edgerton) and Sarah (Carmen Ejogo) in a secure home in the middle of nowhere after an illness wiped out most of civilisation. But everything changes when desperate young couple Will (Christopher Abbott) and Kim (Riley Keough), and their son Andrew (Griffin Robert Faulkner) seek refuge at the house. In a similar way that The Walking Dead examines complex human relationships and interactions, so too does It Comes At Night. It is a fascinating character study as the protagonists experience panic, paranoia and suspicion of each other over the course of the 90-minute film. But Shults has made a horror film that has no obviously scary villains, such as zombies. Further, he is less concerned with showing what the disease is, and more focused on what people do to survive. 

Shults also cleverly changes the aspect ratio throughout the film to show audiences the difference between reality and Travis' nightmares. In fact, the film is really told through Travis' eyes, and in many ways, is a coming of age story. Travis is mourning the death of his grandfather at the start of the film and later begins questioning his father's decisions and even experiences a crush. Meanwhile, he never knows if the sickness is going to get him too, which would mean the end of his life. It is a lot for a teenager to go through. Harrison Jr is excellent in the role, and both Edgerton and Abbott are also worth singling out, especially for some of their one-on-one confrontations. It Comes At Night is not necessarily a typical horror film, but it is definitely spooky.