‘It Comes At Night’ is a film that will horrify and confound audiences in equal measure. It’s a film that uses the perception of fear in its characters to equate the horror the audience is intended to experience. You are watching this movie to feel what one character is feeling and see this world through his eyes. As an exercise in the intricacies of psychological horror, this film is about as good as it gets.
The post apocalyptic setting is never given any particular back story. All we know is that there is a virus which seems to deteriorate cells. We are never informed as to whether this virus animates into something like akin to zombies or if it just kills the host. What we do know is that it ends life as the characters know it and is the external tormentor of their perceptions.
We also know that the door of the house our protagonists live in is the only defense between a potential contagion and safety. The breaching of that red door is fear itself and it manifests itself in the mind of a 17 year old boy. That boys name is Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr.). His father is played by Joel Edgerton and his mother by Carmen Ejogo. Who are all absolutely wonderful in their respective roles.
The movie opens with the introduction to contagion through the boys grandfather. We watch them say good bye through hazmat suits and then burn him alive before he can spread the infection. It’s a fairly harrowing way to start a movie. From there we are introduced to the world and the concepts that will govern the films logic. However, it is an encounter at the red door one night that will define the ongoing narrative.
Some may be willing to ruin things beyond that point, but I’m not one of them. Part of the horror lies in not knowing what’s around the corner. What I will tell you is that it is all quite intense and very scary. Not scary because of gore, but because of atmosphere. The use of sound and music is so expertly done that you would think this filmmaker had been working for decades.
Also, it’s very important to keep a keen eye on the screen and its aspect ratio. I will not give away more than that, but your comprehension of this film might depend on this little thing. One way or another, if you are a fan of the horror genre you should be running out to see this today.