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I'm not sure it does It Comes At Night credit to be marketed as a horror film - some will avoid it based on that false premise - but judging by the title, that may be part of the game writer-director Trey Edward Shults wants to play. What we get is a taut paranoid thriller that often feels like a zombie picture, but is really about an apocalyptic plague and the resulting fear. We follow a survivalist family living in the woods who feels obligated to help another, or rather, and this helps with the paranoia, we follow the family's teenage son, whose perceptions are partial at best. As are everyone's. The film revels in the not-quite-seen and the ambiguity of characters' motivations. Are we seeing what we think we're seeing, or is our imagination getting the better of us. It Comes at Night puts us in the characters' heads better than most films do, pushing our own paranoid buttons through neo-Gothic imagery, vivid nightmares, and the withholding of crucial information.
As someone else here commented on, I think this is an good example of bad marketing and a hackneyed title hurting a film. Very good critical reviews, good imdb score, lots of likes here, but bad RT audience score, bad CinemaScore, and ended up not making much money. All the marketing and the title made me think it was some sort of jump-scare horror or zombie movie, but it's not. If you go in with no expectations and an open mind I think you'll enjoy it as I did.
I'm gonna have to do some thinking with this one. I believe there is some very deep metaphorical stuff going on in this film that I am probably too unsophisticated to decipher. Anyways, this film affected me in ways I couldn't have foreseen. When the lights came on at the end, I felt like I had awoken from a nightmarish dream. This is unlike anything I (personally) have seen before. If you asked me to rate it an hour after seeing it I would give it an 8.5/10
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