It Comes at Night Review
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Whenever there’s danger—no matter how small—our first instinct is to do whatever we can to protect those we love. And in the quiet thriller It Comes at Night, a man’s quest to protect his family from worldwide chaos is complicated by the arrival of another family of survivors.

It Comes at Night stars Joel Edgerton as Paul, a devoted father who’s locked his family away in their home in the woods to protect them from a mysterious illness that’s spread throughout the world. He’ll do anything to keep his family safe—so when Will (Christopher Abbott) breaks into their home one night, looking for supplies, Paul isn’t inclined to trust him. But the family decides to offer their help to Will’s family, only to be taken over by fear and mistrust as soon as the new family arrives in their home.

Dark and eerie and muscle-achingly tense, It Comes at Night is the kind of slow-burn thriller that pulls you in closer and closer without you even realizing it’s happening. The opening scene sets the stage in the most troubling of ways—and there are plenty of terrifying moments along the way. But in the in-between times—when the families are going about their lives—the suspense builds even more. With each nightmare, each little event that feels not quite right, it adds a new question.

Really, this is a film filled with questions—of suggestions and suspicions and unknowns—and the scenario here is just as mysterious and suspenseful as the story itself. The story offers no real background—no information about this horrible sickness, how it began, or what it’s done to the rest of the world. We’re never told what happened before the beginning of the film, and we don’t know what’s going on beyond the family’s immediate surroundings. In fact, it only leaves the family’s compound once, when Paul helps Will bring his family to safety. There are so many unknowns here—and they’re all a part of the film’s mind-boggling mystery.

Of course, if you prefer films to leave you with all of the answers, you’ll find all of the questions here maddening. This isn’t a film that you watch and simply walk away feeling entertained; it’s a film that you’ll watch and wrestle with and debate. It’s a movie that will haunt you and frustrate you and completely wear you out.

It Comes at Night may not be a scream-a-minute kind of horror film, but it’s quietly relentless and brilliantly brutal. It won’t leave you feeling satisfied in the end—quite the opposite, in fact—but you’ll enjoy trying to put all of the pieces together on your own.

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