It Comes at Night (2017)

A well-executed drama/horror more interested in how people grapple with the fear of the sort of horrific things horror films tend to focus on, than those actual threats and horrors themselves.

The characters are well-defined and the script (and cast) do good work making every player’s position understandable at all times – nobody is the bad guy here, except how human nature curdles in situations of high stress and fear. Denial of reality runs high here, as the madness and pain of the ending was entirely needless given the defined fates of the characters already being written…fear of the inevitable and wailing against things not being how they’re supposed to be drives a lot of the drama of the film.


What interests me is the film isn’t really trying to bottom out the genre from under the viewers and act like there are no horror or supernatural elements, it just is profoundly uninterested in them compared to its own characters and family dramas. It’s a fascinating approach, and the cast is skilled enough (Joel Edgerton shines the most) to make their performances and interactions more interesting than the intriguing horror elements. The oscillations between reality and more heightened fantasy sequences work less well, the transitions in aspect ratio are a neat enough idea and pay off in how they’re deployed in the madness of the ending, but it often feels like the film undercutting its own strengths, the less directly horror aspects. Families struggling with their own self-destructive paranoia is where the film excels. Three bullets, and a dog.

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