Belfast Telegraph

It Comes At Night: Thriller steeped in paranoia

 

By Damon Smith

A virulent contagion, which manifests as blackened eyes and pus-filled boils, has swept the globe. History teacher Paul (Joel Edgerton) and his wife Sarah (Carmen Ejogo) ride out the storm with their 17-year-old son Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr).

One night, the family wakes to noises in the house. The burglar is a desperate man called Will (Christopher Abbott), who claims to be looking for water for his wife Kim (Riley Keough) and young son Andrew (Griffin Robert Faulkner).

Paul reluctantly agrees to allow Will's brood to nest in the house, where everyone abides by two rules: keep the front door locked and never venture outside after dark. Some rules are made to be broken...

It Comes At Night is an efficient psychological thriller, which gradually tightens the thumbscrews until we're prickled with the same paranoia as the characters.

Writer-director Trey Edward Shults milks suspense from a simple premise so we're literally in the dark with the characters, unsure how they will react to unforeseen danger.

A glut of nightmarish fantasy sequences slackens the pacing but does force us to question the trustworthiness of some family members. When violence explodes, it's ugly, and the moral compasses of good men whirl out of control in the name of love.

Three stars

Belfast Telegraph

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