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It Comes at Night (2017)

June 15th, 2017 by unkle lancifer · 6 Comments

There’s this song by a band called THE CHAMELEONS that has haunted me for decades. It’s called “Swamp Thing” and it’s so epic in my head. It starts out stomping ominously and then it twists into some kind of dark poetic hurricane and then it breaks into this strange inspirational anthem type-thing. I’m not sure exactly what it’s about but I always got a sense that it was generally about withstanding the inevitable storms of life and living to see better weather. Anyway, there’s a line in the song “When the world is too much with me…” which particularly resonates in my noggin. I always assumed it amounted to “When things get to be too much” and so I’d use it to advise myself like, “The world is too much with you- you should go to bed.” A little tiny bit o’ research (i.e. Google) has led me to understand it’s probably a reference to a poem by William Wordsworth entitled “The World is Too Much With Us” which is about how maybe you should stop selling your soul to materialism and go for a walk in the woods. This is good advice! The other day the world was “too much with me” and instead of going to the woods, I went to the movie theater to escape and find solace and boy, was I ever so sorry I did.

And yes, I do go to horror movies to feel better and lift my spirits. They’re thrilling, are often about overcoming adversity and if all else fails, tend to make your problems seem quaint in comparison. I didn’t know much about IT COMES AT NIGHT, which is how I like it. Based on the trailer, it looked like the perfect antidote because it apparently featured a cabin, lots of lantern light and a threatening red door. I did know it was from the fine folks at A24 and that should have clued me in that it wasn’t going to be traditional fare but hey, I was desperate and how could I resist this film’s intriguing title? I can’t criticize IT COMES AT NIGHT for being a bad movie because it’s not a bad movie; it’s fantastic, it’s challenging, it’s art! The acting (jeez, that JOEL EDGERTON– he couldn’t be better) is exceptional, the writing keeps you on your toes and I love the whole look and feel of it. There are all these great earthy, muted woodsy hues and it feels lived in and it’s welcomingly housebound. I love a movie with a limited setting (I could hang out in 10 CLOVERFILED LANE, all day!) but this movie kicked me in the gut. It’s basically an avalanche of dread (as it has a right to be – who said horror is fun?) and I myself, had a hard time crawling out from under it. I did end up respecting its gloomy consistency but I have a feeling it’s going on my list of movies I’ll never watch again.

Can I think it’s semi-brilliant and also hate it? It’s basically everything I wanted to escape when I went to the theater. It seems to have a real problem with William Wordsworth too because it wants you to know that even if you strip away industry, technology and modern social constructs, paranoid, poisonous humans will find a way to commit the worst atrocities under the guise of protecting their own. They even drug a lovable dog into this chunky porridge of desolation! I wasn’t having it, I wasn’t having it one bit. You know when Pieter Bruegel the Elder‘s painting “The Triumph of Death” provides a lively respite from the persistent morbidity, you’re in trouble.

Oh, I forgot to tell you what it’s about! There’s a plague and so everybody has gone insane and these two families try to join forces to better their survival chances and then destroy each other instead. It’s super stressful and then the worst possible conclusion happens (I won’t reveal the ending but there’s an ultimate moment of inhumanity that results in some of the most authentic howls of grief I’ve ever heard in a movie (ELVIS’ granddaughter RILEY KEOUGH really goes there-she’s tops). I had to sneak into WONDER WOMAN afterwards just to clear my head (I would have done that anyway). So, in closing, I do not recommend this movie if you’re looking for a good time and now I’m going to listen to some records by THE CHAMELEONS. I dunno, it was too much for me and yet not enough for me. Maybe I’m getting sensitive in my old age? Anyway, if writer/director TREY EDWARD SHULTZ was trying to ruin my day….success! I just want to to high-five this film’s indisputable craftsmanship and its impeccable performances (especially EDGERTON and KEOUGH) and then tip-toe away from it, never looking back…

…but I can’t stop thinking about it and now I’ve got another line from that CHAMELEONS song stuck in my head, “Stop staring at the ground”.

Tags: General Horror




6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 thenewbigwigNo Gravatar // Jun 15, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    Although this is the movie type I will most certainly pass on for the very reasons you’ve mentioned, I can’t resist shouting out an enthusiastic “Yes, and how!” over the Chameleons. Their catalog has completely withstood the test of time that turned most 80’s bands into cliché. “What Does Anything Mean…Basically” is still on my top 10 list.
    If you haven’t further dug into his post-Chameleons efforts, The Sun and the Moon is likewise memorable, as is Mark Burgess and the Sons of God – Zima Junction
    Huzzah!

  • 2 MorphoNo Gravatar // Jun 15, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    Heh – see KRISHA.

  • 3 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Jun 16, 2017 at 11:39 am

    thenewbigwig,

    I’ve got some catching up to do. I know “Script of a Bridge”, “What Does Anything Mean?” and Strange Times” like the back of my hand but for some reason I had no idea that they put out new albums in 2001 and 2002! I’m listening to some of it on YouTube and it sounds great. Thanks for the heads up on Mark Burgess & the Sons of God too… I had no idea it existed either. I have to go record shopping this weekend.

    Murpho

    I just watched the trailer for KRISHA and God help me, I’m sold. I gotta see it. I will never learn.

  • 4 MorphoNo Gravatar // Jun 16, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    It’s available on Amazon Prime right now if you’re so inclined…

    Fair warning, though – IT COMES AT NIGHT is downright comforting compared.

    KRISHA is exceptional filmmaking regardless. They both are, really, but KRISHA hit me way harder.

  • 5 StickmannNo Gravatar // Jun 18, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    Ha ha ha, I just saw “It Comes at Night” on Father’s Day, a movie specifically made to terrify fathers. [Curls up into fetal position, shuddering]

    Urgh, yes, Bleak as Fuck, but… recommended? Is there a portmanteau hat emojifies a cringe when I say that? “Recringemended”? Yes, I’m going with that” Recringemended. The cast is all aces, and the director and DoP is to be commended for being So In Control of the Camera. Whenever they want the tension to build, they meticulously, expertly and cruelly slowly pan the camera and control the lantern/flashlight light sources to heighten the audience’s Internally Screaming statistics. Even a broad daylight view of repeated checks of a truck’s rearview mirror has one twitching with sour adrenaline even when everything suggests nothing need happen. And that’s all the Horror of the movie and the invasive world that Unk identifies right there: Nothing Need Happen.

    …Yeah, made the decision that I’m gonna go back to see “Guardians of the Galxy Vol. 2” soon to cleanse the psyche, even if I do get all embarrassingly snuffly at the conclusion of it. It’s a good kind of being embarrassingly snuffly.

  • 6 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Jun 18, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    Stickman,
    I’m glad you agree! I think I need a new ratings system. I can watch violence and mayhem and curse words all day and be fine but IT COMES AT NIGHT needs an ED rating for “Emotionally Devastating”. And I think Guardians of the Galaxy 2 needs a BH rating for “Bring Hankies” because yep, I cried for the last half hour of that movie! To the point where I knocked me glasses off and had to use my iPhone light to find them on the theater floor. lol. That’s a great Father’s Day movie! You are so right!

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