Ralph Potts reviews this thriller that tells the story of a man who will do anything to protect his family, no matter who or what the threat might be.
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Lionsgate – 2017
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 92 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 2.39:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Joel Edgerton, Christopher Abbott, Carmen Ejogo, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Riley Keough
Written & Directed by: Trey Edward Shults
Music by: Brian McOmber
Region Code: A
Release Date: September 12, 2017
17-year-old Travis, secure within a desolate home with his protective and heavily armed parents (Joel Edgerton and Carmen Ejogo), watches his world abruptly change with the arrival of a desperate couple (Christopher Abbott and Riley Keough) and their young child. Panic and mistrust grow as the dangers of the outside world creep ever closer… but they may be nothing compared to the dangers within.
I am a fan of indie horror/thrillers, actually the genre, in general, so when I saw the teaser trailer for It Comes at Night I was intrigued. As a teaser should it revealed very little about the story or its inherent danger/evil, but appeared extremely atmospheric and starred Joel Edgerton, so I was in. I have a pretty good imagination, and tend to enjoy crafty horror/thrillers that work on you psychologically as the things that go unseen, make for the best hair-raising scares. It Comes at Night opens smack dab in the middle of a story about a family, living in what appears to be a post-apocalyptic world where some sort of plague, which is highly contagious, has decimated the populace. Survival for them requires careful measures, trusting no one, and living in isolation.
All of that wasn’t tough to glean, so I was content to wait, assuming that some of the answers to my question would be coming. Well, that really never happens. That might be okay, if we were going to toss away any real need to context, in favor of a dyed in the wool, creepy film, about something that goes bump in the night, takes no prisoners, and asks little of the audience other than to hold on for the next jump scare. It Comes at Night isn’t really a horror movie, although it attempts to lure the audience with elements of horror, that really don’t seem to fit. They seem added to connect parts of the story, but those are never fleshed out.
It Comes at Night is more or less a psychological thriller designed to work as a character driven piece about people’s fears. I think it works in that regard, from a basic level. Unfortunately, the narrative is so thin that the characters have little foundation. Things begin to escalate and the looming questions regarding, what, where and when, are simply never answered. This proved very frustrating because, the potential for a gripping film was ever present. At 90 minutes it’s too short, taking the entire first hour, before anything definitive occurs.
I wanted to like It Comes at Night, but it just didn’t engage me the way I’d hoped. My reaction to it would best be described as lukewarm.
The rating is for violence, disturbing images, and language.
AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency effects:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- DSU Rating * (non-rated element):
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black Level/Shadow Detail:
- Color Reproduction:
It Comes at Night comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 30 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.8 Mbps.
This film’s visual style doesn’t lend itself to eye catching color or infinite levels of dimension but this is a creative decision that doesn’t reflect negatively on its presentation. Resolution is on par with a film of its ilk and renders images that appreciable levels of detail during close ups and discernible depth of field in wide angle shots. The filtered chromatic range is purposefully limited to muted primary colors and softer secondary hues. That coupled with the drab lighting schemes and dark cinematography makes for a visually pallid but thematically affecting look. Skin tones among the cast vary and range from Rosy to pale while appearing textural and predominantly lifelike. Blacks are deep and dynamic and shadow detail is excellent. I didn’t see any signs of video related artifacts in this whistle clean high definition presentation that looks terrific.
The lossless DTS-HD MA soundtrack offers detail rich clarity while making use of the entire surround platform to support the film’s thematic elements. Dialog is firmly planted in the center channel and clearly renders voices and effects with appropriate distinction and balance within the front soundstage. The detection of subtle background sounds, off camera cues and spatial dimension within the room’s acoustic environment is notable. Dynamic range is robust which enriches the authority of low frequency effects contained in the mix. There isn’t perpetual use of the rear channels and subwoofer however when applied the effects are involving enough to elevate suspense.
- Filmmaker Audio Commentary
- Human Nature: Creating It Comes in the Night
- Digital HD Copy
It Comes at Night is an indie thriller with excellent potential, that isn’t fully realized, resulting in what feels like an unfinished effort. It comes to Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring excellent high definition audio/video, mated with a lackluster supplement package. It Comes at Night is conceptually strong which makes it worthy of rental consideration for genre fans. If you’re curious toss it in your Blu-ray rental queue and see what you think.
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Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8802A 13.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies – 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
SVS SB-13 Ultra (Piano Gloss finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components – CP-CP102 cooling package