Another First Glance: “It Comes at Night”

Really good horror films don’t seem to come around that often. Over the last few years there’s really only been a handful of films that fit that bill, but they’ve been worth the wait. Even better or just in conjunction with, is when a horror film can deliver well before anyone has seen the film itself. Yes, trailers are supposed to inform and excite viewers, but the level of good I’m thinking of goes well beyond doing just that. Somehow, so much more is accomplished in only a few minutes, that it elevates the film in an instant.

The upcoming A24 film “It Comes at Night” has me hooked with the possibility of extreme terror unlike anything I’ve experienced before. It’s either that, or I’m really buying into the trailer and thus will buy into any other marketing when I see it. I doubt that’s it, but I have to keep something in the back of my mind or risk raising my level of expectations higher than I do for most films. That’s how excited I am about this film. That’s how much I’m willing to trust in what I’ve seen in two different trailers. That’s how much I’m willing to, once again, fully trust in A24. I guess I should mention that the headlines I’ve skimmed over for reviews of this film don’t hurt things either. With so much positivity already being had, how could this film be bad in any capacity?

Into The Paranoid Woods

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Paranoia. Is that what this is? Is there some sort of plague that ravaged the world and this is now how people survive? What? This trailer raises so many questions and deepens the level of intrigue that’s definitely needed to lure people in. It’s just one of many ways in which this trailer is so effective and raises the level of excitement that’ll remain until the film’s release.

First, which is what’s always great when a full length trailer is released, is there’s now a whole lot more known about the story. There’s more to expect from it than just the level of scares. There’s a lot more mystery that’s now presenting questions that need answers. The intrigue factor grew exponentially as well. What also grew, was my thinking of how much this will also resemble a psychological thriller. There’s so many questions and moments that leave open a certain level of doubt. Originally, as the first trailer was a teaser that offered little (duh), it wasn’t evident. The focus wasn’t on this. Here it is. It also is a big opportunity for writer and director Trey Edward Shults to showcase how much control he really has. It’s not just going to be with the narrative itself, but in how he allows each scene to come about. Then, which I’m suspecting will be the case, he’ll weave in uncertainty about what’s really going on. I could go either way on the true nature of the horrors that plague these people, just so long as the execution is there and the reward is well earned.

The next thing that made this trailer so effective, and well worth the wait until I watched it four times in one sitting, is the score featured. It’s perfect. Yes there’s score during the first half of the trailer, but it’s what comes once you hit the halfway point, that sells this trailer, and for me, the film itself. Mind you, that wasn’t really needed at all. After getting through what seems like a normal life in the woods, complete with strange rules to follow and stranger goings on, things take a fascinating turn. A mysterious turn. A malevolent turn, which seems like it’ll fit so well into that world that Shults has masterfully created. The score shifts to something much darker and full of menace. Accompanying this, which is where things really took off and held me, were a succession of disturbing and chaotic images. Images that told me that nothing was going to be at all predictable. I wish I could describe the score, which I’m truly hoping is only part of what will be heard in the film, but it’s truly better to hear it for yourself. By the end of each viewing, which itself is kind of surprising, I found myself shaken. On edge. It was that effective that I’m anxious to be scared in a big, dark theater.

While the release date isn’t that far away, it’s still farther than I want it to be. I can wait, as there’s plenty else to get excited about and see, plus do as I still have to live a somewhat productive life, but it’s still not easy. I want to see this film that badly!

Expected Release Date: June 9, 2017

Written and Directed: Trey Edward Shults

Starring: Joel Edgerton, Christopher Abbot, Carmen Ejogo, Kelvin Harrison Jr. and Riley Keough

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