You ever see a movie, decide that it’s terrible, so terrible in fact that you want to talk shit about it on the internet, but then you look on the internet and all of the movie critics are so busy hyperventilating about how great the movie is that they can’t hear you telling them how fucking stupid they are? Well, that’s what’s going on in my world right now.
First, here are some notes regarding my experience with It Comes at Night.
- I didn’t watch any trailers. I didn’t read about it before I saw it. I think I saw some hot take headlines about it, but I didn’t pay any attention to them.
- I’m not a super big movie fan.
Many of the reviewers talk about how this movie is a horror movie that perfectly captures our current political situation (some of the reviewers worrying that it was too on the nose). Really? That’s what you took away from this? I’m guessing if I left a flat bicycle tire, half a bowl of popcorn, and a rake out on the sidewalk, they’d tell me something about Constantine seeing visions of the cross.
“I think you can see the narrative shift to Christianity when…”
And I’d interrupt them.
“No, sorry dude, I was just cleaning out my garage.”
If there is any allusion or metaphor or hidden meaning to It Comes at Night relative to our current political situation, the social chaos, or geopolitical conflict, it is so scarce as to be meaningless.
Now, before you raise a hand and say, “Yes, but that’s the point. It’s not spoon feeding you the allegory. It’s not hitting you over the head with its message,” I’m going to have to call you out again and tell you that you’re full of shit.
This film relies on “spooky” dream sequences, creepy environment (shot beautifully, to the film’s credit), and an audience that isn’t all that worried about engaging with the characters (not particularly developed), a plot line (besides the basic “survival” what was there?) or any sort of narrative arc.
This is basically the structure.
Scene One – Creepy Thing
Scene Two – Creepy Thing
Scene Three – Foreshadow something that won’t ever be brought up again BUT MAKE SURE IT’S CREEP
And etc. etc. etc.
It’s not possible for me to get frightened by a movie if I’ve got no investment in the characters or their struggle. It’s not possible for me to get invested in characters and their struggles if they are not intimate to the vessel. And since none of the characters are developed (save me the aggravation if your inclination is to say that it is intentional. If it’s intentional, I can see no reason why. If you think it makes some larger point, or that the story makes up for the deficiency, you’re wrong).
When I was doing research about the movie (after seeing it), I found the movie’s Twitter page, and I can see by the Tweets, the people associated with the movie aren’t even really sure what it’s about. One of the Tweets says something like, “She’ll do anything to protect her family!” If you saw this movie and think I’m full of shit, can you really say that Tweet makes any sense in any meaningful and serious way?
Could it have been if the film went in a different direction? Sure. Might it have been a critical examination of the Zeitgeist? Undoubtedly. But the same can be said for Ernest Goes to Camp if it, too, was not the movie that it actually is.
If being vague is insightful, then I’d like to sell you my collection of Snapple bottle caps and fortune cookie innards. I have a feeling it’d keep you busy for a while and maybe you’d have the satisfaction of getting life sorted. Perhaps you can divine some meaning to the Burger Wars of the late 90s or something. I don’t know.
NEGATIVE ONE HUNDRED STARS