"Horrifying, But Not in the Traditional Sense"
What You Need To Know:
IT COMES AT NIGHT isn’t a traditional horror movie. However, in its scary examination of human paranoia, it’s horrifying on many levels. That said, horror movie fans probably will be disappointed because they expect something else. Like many horror movies, IT COMES AT NIGHT does get one thing right: the idea that human beings are flawed, sinful and broken people prone to fear. However, the movie is void of hope, compassion, grace, and pretty much anything else positive. IT COMES AT NIGHT also has plenty of foul language, with graphic violence that’s excessive.
(PaPa, C, B, LL, VVV, S, N, A, M) Strong pagan worldview of hopelessness and violence, which is devoid of grace and compassion, though it does share the Christian, biblical worldview of the sinfulness of man; 18 obscenities (including 13 “f” words) and three strong profanities; graphic violence, including people are shot execution style and in combat, there’s a euthanasia killing of an old person with a terrible terminal disease, per a young child is shot as well, a man is beaten repeatedly in the face, a horrifying sickly man is seen in a nightmare, a dead dog is shown; light sexual content includes a boy has a fantasy about a woman coming to his bed at night but it turns into a nightmare before anything happens, and viewers hear sexual moaning from another room; upper male nudity, woman and man sit in bath together, but no private parts shown; light alcohol use; no smoking or drugs; and, paranoia.
IT COMES AT NIGHT is an eerie psychological horror movie about a family trying to stay alive after an apocalyptic disease that kills off most of the population.
Paul (Joel Edgerton) and his wife, Sarah, and their teenage son, Travis, live in the woods in a large house. The movie begins with the family saying their goodbyes to Sarah’s father, who got infected with the deadly disease, which results in ghastly boils all over the body and eventual death. Paul puts Sarah’s father out of his misery, and burns the body in the woods.
At night, the large house stays boarded up with only one door that leads in and out. The family often wears gas masks so they don’t get infected. However, Travis, the 17-year-old son, often has horrifying nightmares.
One night they catch someone breaking into the house at night, a middle-aged man. After knocking him unconscious and tying him to a tree for a day or two, Paul questions the man to find out if he’s a threat to his family. The man, Will, says he didn’t know the house was occupied, and he was only trying to find supplies for his own wife and young son.
Paul is convinced Will may be telling the truth. So, he decides to go with Will to retrieve his family, make sure they’re not infected, and bring them back to the house. The two families meet, and Paul immediately introduces them to his strict rules of the house. However, Will and his wife, Kim, are just grateful to be somewhere safe.
After several days, though, Paul grows suspicious of Will, and Travis becomes infatuated with Kim. It all comes to a head one night when it looks as if Will and Kim’s son, Andrew, are sick, and Travis may have had contact with him. The fear and paranoia take over the two families, causing deadly results.
IT COMES AT NIGHT is not a horror movie in the traditional sense of a monster movie. However, in its examination of human paranoia, it’s horrifying on many levels. From the title of the movie, to the poster, to all the marketing material, moviegoers are led to believe there’s an evil creature or being that “comes at night” to terrify people. What one quickly learns while watching the movie is the only thing to fear is our own violent and destructive nature. The two families trying to survive together quickly fall into distrust and paranoia. Also, the lengths Paul is willing to go to protect his family are truly disturbing.
In the end, the movie is a self-reflective art piece on human nature, with very few scares and an extremely bleak ending. The young writer/director is to be commended for accomplishing an effective piece in this vein, with solid acting and great cinematography. However, a filmmaker can easily be too smart for their own good, and betray the viewer’s expectations in a bad way. Sadly, IT COMES AT NIGHT does just this. So, while critics may rave, audiences will ultimately find this to be a boring, pretentious movie they got duped into paying to see.
Like many horror movies, IT COMES AT NIGHT gets one thing right, that human beings are flawed, sinful and broken people prone to fear. However, the movie is void of hope, compassion, grace, and pretty much anything positive. The movie also has plenty of foul and graphic violence that makes it unacceptable viewing.