paul’s review published on Letterboxd:
Spooktober 2019, #13:
A heavily metaphorical thriller and horror film on paranoia and the fear of the unknown with a very abstract menace in a fading world that works in today’s climate. Hardly liable to qualify as horror since it’s not really scary in the traditional sense of the term, and the horror resides more in what the characters feel and in their way of thinking more than anything else.
The approach of It Comes at Night is very minimalistic, wether it’s in its message or in its visuals. Technically, it’s very well made. The choice of lenses and the camerawork as a whole show how Trey Edward Shults is perfectly capable of manipulating the space around him and building really good and pretty frames. I just can throw as an example this shot of the dog facing the forest which is an amazing shot to me. The score as well is really good, a bit repetitive at times though.
But why only 3 stars? You will say. Well it’s because I think the film and the story are way over-metaphorical, meandering and sometimes way too abstract for the message to be effectively conveyed. It feels sometimes unfocused like with those nightmare scenes that I didn’t feel like they were adding anything efficient to the film or the fact that the story takes too much time to set in for me. The themes exploited here aren’t always exploited in the most effective way, and it’s the same for the characters. It’s really hard for me to really think this film handles its message well when I hardly care about the characters in the first place because of how underdeveloped they are, or the family as a whole. I appreciate the effort taken by Shults which is not something I’ll ignore, but the film gets clumsy script-wise, and that’s why I don’t think it’s great.