It Comes at Night (Blu-ray)

October 3, 2017 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

I’m guilty of judging a book by its cover and I’m man enough to admit it. I remember this coming to theaters and then when the Blu-ray arrived, kind of shrugged my shoulders and said “Meh.” Ok, I didn’t really say that, but let’s just say that it wasn’t at the top of my “to be reviewed” pile. But after reading a few other reviews of it, I figured I’d give this one a shot. Joel Edgerton has had some great performances of late and this one seemed to be tailor made for him. But, I kept thinking, “is this another zombie movie?” And if it was, I just didn’t know if I could deal (it’s not, by the way). Nevertheless, this film might have been called “cabin in the woods” as it would have been more fitting than It Comes at Night. But I digress…

I feel like I impeded on a film already in progress and, for what it’s worth, the “story” implies that there’s been some sort of viral outbreak that’s left only a few survivors. We don’t know if it’s relegated to the US or the world and, truthfully, it really doesn’t matter. It’s not pertinent to the film. One of the survivors is Paul (Joel Edgerton) who lives along with his family in a rural, boarded up house. He has some very simple rules that they all follow: Don’t go outside alone. Keep the door locked at all times. And don’t trust anyone – ever. We then meet Will (Christopher Abbott), who breaks into said home under the guise of looking for the basic elements of life – water and food. Paul’s wife, Sarah (Carmen Ejogo), encourages him to take pity on the intruder and he does. Will then invites his wife, Kim (Riley Keough) and child and the group seems to get along fine. There seem to be minute little fractures in Will’s story, however, that leads Paul to believe he’s hiding something and/or up to some more nefarious deeds. We have to ask ourselves if Paul is being paranoid or has wisdom beyond his years?

There’s proof that you don’t need aliens, superpowers or any other “gimmick” to create a great film. And while I don’t know if I’d classify the film itself as “great”, it’s certainly got some fine performances. I have to wonder what might happen if most of the world’s population was wiped out. If I were a survivor, is living really, well – living? What lengths would I go to in order to provide safety and security for my family? These are questions that the film only hints at, but it does get the mind working, for sure. There aren’t a lot of other films out there like this, so for that I give the filmmaker credit for taking a risk (and, likewise, the studio). Is it everyone’s cup of tea? Doubtful. But I look at it like this: if I think about it after the credits roll, it was worth my time.

Video: How’s it look?

By and large, this film is presented in a 2.39:1 AVC HD transfer. I didn’t know if I was losing my mind or if the aspect ratio (the bars on the top and bottom of the screen) kept changing. But, indeed they were. I don’t know what the purpose of this was – perhaps to give us more of a “feel” of what it was like in the house? Nevertheless, it’s a dull and somewhat drab film, though it’s not marred by the physical presentation in the least. Colors don’t exactly jump off the screen, but black levels remain strong, I saw no evidence of artifacting and black crush. Detail is, as we’d expect, very sharp and clear. I’ve no real complaints here, it’s a fine effort an one that’s indicative of a new to Blu-ray title.

Audio: How’s it sound?

The included DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack has a few moments, though they’re few and far between. A spattering of gunshots as well as some “nature” sounds are the highlight of the mix. Don’t read that as being “bad” by any means, it’s just not the kind of movie that really showcases the limits of your system. A few of the characters wear gas masks which tend to muffle the dialogue, though that’s by no fault of the film. All in all, it’s passable, but then again dynamic audio shouldn’t be at the forefront of your viewing experience.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • Audio Commentary – Writer/Director Trey Edward Shults and Actor Kelvin Harrison, Jr. collaborate on a fairly intriguing commentary track.  The duo comment on the history of the project as well as some “creative differences” had during the shoot.
  • Human Nature: Creating It Comes at Night – Running at half an hour, this is more than the standard “Making of…” feature. Interviews with the cast and crew as well as information on the shoot, the history of the film and a somewhat “new” director. It’s a good, informative feature that’s sure to please.

The Bottom Line

This is a tough one to classify. I’d call it a “zombie” movie – minus the zombies. There’s a lot on the surface, but even more underneath it. All the lead actors offer up some great performances, notably Edgerton who can’t seem to miss. Admittedly, I was a bit thrown and you will be as well providing you have no insight into the plot. The supplements are minimal, but nevertheless informative. It’s a good film and certainly worth a look.

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