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I've seen many small SF/horror movies lately that are clear tributes to The Twilight Zone, but The Vast of Night really wears it on its sleeve, with a more overt reference right up top. Indeed, we often return to the odd free-standing cathode-tube screen over the course of the movie, and sometimes even go to a black frame, turning the film into radio. Perhaps an evocation of Orson Wells' War of the Worlds broadcast? This is, after all, a UFO story as seen through the eyes and ears of a radio disc jockey and a telephone operator in a sleepy 1950s town. A triumph of style over substance, there's a lot to admire in terms of recreating an era, letting the camera glide around town to create a clear geography, and letting the story play out as a kind of radio play. Think, if you can, of a mix between Signs and Pontypool. Unfortunately, it's not as clever or original as Pontypool, and I feel we're heading for an inescapable conclusion and not much of a twist at all. As a movie, it looks cool and takes chances. Its characters are good, especially Sierra McCormick who is quite convincing as a period teen. As a plot, it's rather generic, and the audience if forever ahead of the characters.
Like a creatively illustrated engaging radio play. The musical score was just beautiful and the composers definitely deserve to be in the conversation come awards season.
There are definitely things to like (including some unnerving parts in the second half), but the sleep-inducing pace and hazy, murky photography are not among them. Disappointing.
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