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Watch This Review

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Movie Review

Travis watched his father kill his grandfather, roll the body into a shallow grave and light it on fire.

It was a horrible thing.

The virus, or whatever this plague is that's been killing people, had turned the old man's body into a horror show. Finally, it was too much: Grandpa was just too far gone. So Travis, his dad (Paul) and his mom (Sarah) gathered to say their goodbyes and bring the man's terrible suffering to an end.

Of course, their suffering lingers on.

The family lives many miles out in the woods. For safety's sake, they only go outside in pairs. And even then, only for emergencies or to visit the makeshift outhouse or to chop wood. And they always have some kind of weapon in hand.

The rest of the time they stay indoors. When night comes, they lock themselves behind the Red Door—insulating them deeper in the house in case something sinister shows up in the darkness.

One night something does break into the house. Travis hears it and alerts his father. Turns out it isn't a something, but a someone. A someone named Will.

After subduing the man, they leave him tied to a tree for a while to ensure he isn't sick. Those who are infected turn in a matter of days, you see. But when Will doesn't get sick, they have to figure out what to do with him. And they have to consider the man's wife and child, too, whom he said were huddled a few miles away in an abandoned house. They have to consider the benefits of their pooled resources. And pooled manpower. And increased protection. They have to consider their safety, their responsibility, their … humanity.

That's actually the toughest part. And it weighs on 17-year-old Travis like a massive stone. A stone that keeps sleep at bay and fills short slumbers with nightmares. Is it possible that this horror they've been a part of, this life they've lived locked behind a Red Door, has changed them in terrible ways? For that matter, if they do "the right thing" and invite Will and his family to come live in the house, will it change them, too.

With each day that passes, with each choice made and each pain endured, Travis can't help but wonder: Which side of the Red Door do the monsters really live on?

Positive Elements

The film depicts people desperately trying to protect their loved ones, being willing to kill or die in that effort. (Unfortunately the film also suggests that in extreme and dire moments, it's the killing and dying that takes precedent.) Travis and his family members all talk of their love for one another.

Spiritual Content

None.

Sexual Content

When Will and his wife Kim move into the house, they bring with them an element of sexuality that definitely impacts Travis. We see the young couple partially undressed in bed and naked together (but covered) in a bath tub. They kiss and caress. Meanwhile, Travis listens to them talk intimately while hiding above them in an attic passageway. He hears them making love (off camera). And when Travis and Kim meet by accident in the kitchen one night, his gaze is drawn to her chest, covered only by a thin T-shirt. She notices his attention and covers up.

Violent Content

An old, diseased and withered man is shot in the head through a pillow. His body is doused with gasoline and burned. We're shown a painting of what appears to be the scene of a plague that's scattered with the dead and diseased. A woman and her small child are shot at a distance. Several attacking men with weapons are shot and killed as well. One of them is beaten and bloodied before being shot in the chest.

Paul gets knocked to the ground and hit repeatedly in the face until he's lacerated and bleeding from several swollen wounds. Paul's truck is shot at, blowing out the side window and causing him to crash into a tree. A prone man gets hit in the face with a rifle butt, knocking him cold. He's then gagged and tied to a tree trunk.

We see people stricken with the virus, their skin covered in boils with thick, bloody drool pouring out of their mouths. The family dog is found lying dead in a small pool of blood. Its body is burned.

Crude or Profane Language

A dozen or so f-words and a handful of s-words join one use of "b--ch" and a couple of harsh misuses of Jesus' name.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Paul and Will share a glass of alcohol during a late-night conversation. And Paul swigs straight from the bottle after an intensely violent scene.

Other Negative Elements

Travis tends to sneak about listening to private conversations. In a dream sequence, a diseased Kim straddles Travis' chest and drools into his mouth.

Conclusion

From this film's title and the way it's being marketed, it would be reasonable for viewers to slip into a theater seat expecting a typical lunge-and-gush creepfest. However, zombies and ghouls aren't the only things that watch us in the cinematic dead of night: Our own fears, anxieties and nightmares roam that shadowed void, too.

And those things make It Comes at Night much more of a dark psychological drama than a typical nocturnal horror movie.

This slowly ticking film asks us to ponder what parts of our humanity we'd be willing to abandon, and what parts we'd cling to, in the worst of times. It suggests that in life's most dire moments, even well-reasoned choices can turn awful.

Alas, for all of the surprising thoughtfulness that this gradually boiling thriller provides, it also comes packing things bleak, befouled and bloody. And those messy bits should give many a discerning viewer pause. Perhaps more so, even, than a zombie in the wood.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Content Caution

Kids
Teens
Adults

Credits

Rating

R

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Joel Edgerton as Paul; Christopher Abbott as Will; Carmen Ejogo as Sarah; Riley Keough as Kim; Kelvin Harrison Jr. as Travis; Griffin Robert Faulkner as Andrew

Director

Trey Edward Shults ( )

Distributor

A24

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

In Theaters

June 9, 2017

On Video

September 12, 2017

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Bob Hoose

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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