It Comes at Night Blu-ray Review
Keep the red door locked
It Comes at Night is an impressive sophomore effort from filmmaker Trey Edward Shults, serving up surprisingly psychological beats with his plague infestation thrills.Throwing us straight into the thick of things, It Comes at Night offers little background into the source of its terror - an strange plague which appears to have swept across the land and infected mankind. The threat is often understated, but very much pervasive in the background, with a small family living a relatively isolated existence in the woods still reeling from the latest family member they had to execute, and distrusting of the stranger who comes calling in the night, shaking up their already uneasy existence behind closed - and boarded-up - doors.Shults served his time working on a number of Terrence Malick's recent efforts, and films like Jeff Nichols' Midnight Special, and clearly has an eye for natural beauty, striking cinematography, interesting framing and sweeping camera movements, putting his burgeoning style to good use in this interesting and impressive minimalist low budget psychological horror. Joel Edgerton (also in Midnight Special) takes the lead and it's a taut and superbly-paced ride; a surprisingly atmospheric affair which delivers some very effective thrills.
Picture QualityIt Comes to Night comes to UK Region Free Blu-ray courtesy of Universal who deliver up the same strong disc with a frequently impressive 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation framed in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1 widescreen. Shot digitally using Arri Alexa XT cameras, the film was finished using a 2K Digital Intermediate, with results often exceeding expectations in what is a film that is simply bathed in inky blacks and peddles in, as the title might suggest, predominant night-set terrors.
With little to criticise and much to admire, this is a very good presentation
Detail is surprisingly strong, picking up the very plain streaks on the infamous red door, lapping up skin textures, the weave of worn clothing and lots of finer background nuances, often at the end of a gun-mounted spotlight. Green grass and eerily quiet woods offer up further highlights, and, considering the blanked blacks applied to the environment, the results are arguably amidst the best this dark a movie could possibly expect to offer, and - whilst not conventionally demo material - very impressive indeed. Faces, half-bathed in shadow, creep out of the darkness, and the image reveals everything - and more - that you could expect it to. With little to criticise in the piece, and much to admire (anything during the day is simply superb, but it's a comparative rarity, and the reflections in goggles and even a eyeball offer further highlights) this is a very good presentation indeed.
Sound QualityThe accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is also pretty impressive, affording the moody, atmospheric piece a dominant streak of tension right out of the gate, as the intense score strikes a sense of pervasive doom and imminent threat.
An effective and impressive soundtrack
Dialogue gets keen enough promotion across the array, largely focused from the front channels, whilst effects bring the environment to life - much like the shadows, it can get remarkably quiet, with little touches here and there, some animal, some not, fleshing out the creepy landscape. From growling engines and crunchy beaten path roads to the crack of woodland underground underfoot, it's an effectively designed soundstage which bristles with intensity when booming shotguns - or handguns - ring out. The score kicks into action before - and during - anything more eventful, edging around quieter moments but pounding to life when required, with suitably atmospheric beats. It's an effective, impressive track.
ExtrasThis disc boasts a couple of strong extra features: a half-hour Making-of Documentary, Human Nature: Creating It Comes at Night, which has the usual mix of interview snippets from the cast and crew reflecting on the production, and behind the scenes footage of the shoot; and an Audio Commentary from Writer/Director Shults and Actor Kelvin Harrison (who plays the son).
Blu-ray VerdictA surprisingly atmospheric affair which delivers some very effective thrills
Universal's Region Free UK Blu-ray release of It Comes at Night provides excellent video and very good audio, as well as a couple of strong extra features. It's an unusual and stylish affair, especially given the fact that it's only a low budget sophomore directorial effort and clearly director Trey Edward Shults is a filmmaker to keep an eye out for in the future. Recommended.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £12.99
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