It Comes at Night (2017) Review with Ending Explained


The Review (Spoiler Free)

“It Comes at Night,” directed by Trey Edward Shults, is a film that defies the conventional boundaries of the horror genre. Released in 2017, this psychological thriller delves deep into the primal fears of humanity, set against the backdrop of an apocalyptic threat. The movie’s strength lies not in the unseen horrors that lurk in the dark but in the palpable tension and distrust that builds among the characters.

The film opens with a harrowing scene of a family saying goodbye to a terminally ill relative, setting the tone for a story that is as much about the internal struggles of its characters as it is about the external threats they face. The narrative centers around Paul (played by Joel Edgerton), his wife Sarah (Carmen Ejogo), and their son Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), who have isolated themselves in a desolate house in the woods to escape a deadly contagion that has ravaged the world.

The cinematography, handled adeptly by Drew Daniels, is claustrophobic and immersive, often using dim lighting and tight shots to amplify the sense of confinement and paranoia. The production design further accentuates this feeling, with boarded-up windows and a single red door serving as the only barrier between the family and the outside world.

As the story unfolds, the arrival of another family seeking refuge brings the themes of trust and survival to the forefront. The interactions between the two families are fraught with tension, as each member grapples with the fear of infection and the desperation to protect their loved ones. The performances are nuanced and compelling, particularly from Edgerton and Harrison Jr., whose portrayals of fear and moral ambiguity drive the narrative forward.

Shults’ direction is meticulous, crafting a slow-burning horror that relies on atmosphere and character development rather than jump scares or gore. The film’s pacing is deliberate, allowing the audience to become fully invested in the characters’ plight before ratcheting up the suspense in the final act.

Critics have praised “It Comes at Night” for its effective use of minimalistic elements and its ability to evoke horror through the unseen and the unspoken. The film’s conclusion is haunting and open-ended, leaving viewers to ponder the true nature of the darkness that comes at night—whether it is a physical threat or something more insidious within us.

Spoiler Ending (Spoiler Alert)

As previously discussed, “It Comes At Night” is a psychological thriller where nothing actually comes at night. Many of the eerie scenes in the trailer are from dream sequences. The movie centers on trust, depicting two families sharing a house who must rely on each other to survive a deadly disease that has ravaged the world. As the film progresses, the trust between the families gradually erodes.

The tension escalates when Travis, the 17-year-old son of Paul, wakes up in the middle of the night and discovers Andrew, Will’s son, sleeping in the room of the deceased grandfather. Travis returns Andrew to his own room, only to find the red door, which should be locked nightly, unlocked. Moreover, he discovers his missing dog inside the house, badly injured and infected.

The lingering questions are: How did the dog return to the house, and who unlocked the red door and the door behind it?

In the end, the trust between the families shatters completely. Paul and his wife end up killing Will’s family. It’s unclear why Will decided to leave, but it’s presumed that his young son was infected with the virus. Given the close relationship between Andrew and Travis, it’s likely that if Andrew is infected, Travis is too.

Ultimately, it’s revealed that Travis has contracted the virus. The final scene shows Paul and his wife sitting at a table alone, exchanging glances, realizing their impending doom.

Returning to the unresolved issues, it’s improbable that young Andrew opened the doors, as he seems too small to reach the locks despite his sleepwalking. This leaves Travis as the likely culprit.

Travis appears to be a central character in the story, as many of his dreams are showcased. In one such dream, he ventures outside in search of his dog. After the dog runs away into the woods, Travis is visibly distressed, suggesting he might have ventured outside one night.

In the Nutshell

“It Comes at Night” is a masterful exploration of the human psyche under duress. It is a film that lingers long after the credits roll, a testament to the power of understated storytelling and the enduring appeal of psychological horror. For those seeking a thought-provoking and unsettling cinematic experience, “It Comes at Night” is a must-watch. I give 4 out of 5 stars.

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Genre: Psychological Thriller

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