I have really mixed feelings about this film. If you’re looking for a piece of atmospheric cinematography then this could be the film for you. If you are looking for a kick arse horror that this film was advertised as, then don’t go and see it.
There are spoilers in this, don’t read if you want to be surprised (although in this film you really won’t be).
The film starts by setting the scene that there is a highly contagious disease ravaging the human race. Locked away in a house in the forest Paul and Sarah with their son Travis have a problem on their hands. Sarah’s father Bud has contracted the disease and he is kept in the front entrance to their house in a plastic sheet lined reception room. Sarah is saying her good byes before Paul and Travis take poor old Bud out in to the woods and shoot him like a sick animal. They then throw the body in a shallow grave and burn it. While dealing with Bud they all wear HASMAT masks and clinical gloves. At this point I thought that this film really was going to have some legs…
You see the family eating a meagre dinner which consists of what looked like a small strip of gammon stake and about 6 peas, but no one has an appetite after putting down Bud. This is supposed to show that the family are on tight rations due to the lack of food supply.
We learn that Travis likes to eves drop on his parents talking as he goes and listens to them in the attic. Everyone retires to bed and we meet Stanley, Bud’s dog who is now sticking with Travis.
Skip to the next night, there’s a noise down stairs, everyone gets their masks and gloves on and run downstairs armed with guns to capture an intruder. Paul ties the intruder to a tree for 24 hours to see if he is infected. When Paul finds he isn’t, he asks him why he broke in to his house. The intruder says he thought it was abandoned and he was looking for water for his wife and child. There are a few inconsistencies in what the guy tells Paul, but after a discussion with Sarah he decides to drive out and get the wife and kid as the intruder…whose name is Will, says that they have goats and chickens. Paul says that he will stay with them at where they are staying for 3 days as if they are infected he will know by then. He tells them if he doesn’t return don’t come looking for him.
As Paul and Will leave they run in to some people, which Paul ends up shooting, although he doesn’t get his mask on till after he has shot them. They dump the bodies in a shallow grave.
Skip 3 days and Paul is back, Will’s family is tentatively welcomed in to the house, and consists of his wife Kim and their young son Andrew. As they eat, Paul lays out the rules of the house, making a big deal that people don’t go outside the house at night unless absolutely necessary and the front door stays locked, and he has the only keys (although you never see this door get locked with a key, it’s only ever a bolt from the inside…sigh).
Everyone settles in to daily life, and we learn that Travis doesn’t sleep a lot as he seems to be having prophetic dreams that he will become infected. He eves drops on Kim and Will in the evenings and catches them at it one night which sparks his sexual interest in Kim. They have an awkward conversation in the kitchen one night when neither of them can sleep.
While out during the day, the men are chopping wood (So manly) while Kim fetches some water, Stanley runs off in to the woods, and Travis high tails it after the dog. Eventually Paul and Will catch up with Travis who can’t find the dog, but he says that he saw something in the woods. They all return to the house leaving the dog to fend for himself.
Travis is upset that Stanley is still out there and Paul says they will go looking for him the next day at first light. Travis is drawing some weird picture of people with black eyes in the woods as they talk.
During the night Travis once again can’t sleep and starts to wander the house. He hears Andrew moaning and finds him in Bud’s bedroom. He wakes the kid up and returns him to the room of Kim and Will, leaving, but not before he has taken a long ogling look at Kim as she sleeps. He then hears noises from the front door and goes to investigate, when he gets there the door is open and he runs to his parents room to get them to come and investigate.
Paul and Will go in to the reception room and find Stanley on the floor bleeding. They shoot the dog and once again stick it in a shallow grave and burn the body.
All members of the house meet up and discuss what happened and Travis tells them that the door was open when he got there and he had taken Andrew back to bed. The mistrust of each other which has been evident through out the whole time the two families have been together rears it head prominently and Paul suggests that they confine the families to their own rooms for a few days to see if anyone is infected.
Travis sneaks out early the next morning and eves drops on Kim and Will, and he finds out that Andrew is sick and that they want to leave. He wakes his parents and they decide to confront the other couple, so masked up and armed they go to their room. They do find that Andrew is sick and that Will and Kim want to leave and they have a curfuffle over it, ultimately this ends with Paul killing all three of them.
Travis realises that he has probably infected himself.
The next thing we see is Travis covered in sores and dying as his infected mother comforts him.
The film ends with Paul and Sarah facing each other at the dining table infected.
So….what comes at night? I guess you could side with the artsy fartsy critics and say that it is Travis’ nightmares. The fear and mistrust that Paul and Sarah feel and the general isolation and loneliness that penetrates the film…or you could argue that nothing comes at night.
There are critics out there giving this film rave reviews. They are heralding this as a a masterpiece in atmospheric thriller realms and that the way the film builds the emotions and isolation is a work of sheer genius, which I guess they are right in, this is done really well in the piece….but…and it’s a massive but…
There are a tonne of inconsistencies in this film… what’s the point of picking and choosing when you are going to where HASMAT gear, this is for air bourne infections and substances, therefore if this is how the disease is spread….wear the gear all the time. If it’s passed by touch…stop touching one another. At no point does anyone clean down the areas which have had infected people in there and you never find out how it is contracted.
There is no reason that I could see why anyone can’t go out at night. The infected people are portrayed as almost unable to move, or breathe unassisted so what do you think they are going to do? Chase you down? Hardly.
There is literally no substance to this slow moving film, except the theory that there is nothing to fear except fear itself, and even that is debatable, as Paul is so wrapped up in his own rules and processes that he can’t see that they would never allow his family to survive. I guess you could say that there are no monsters as such in this film because Paul is the monster, but even that is tenuous.
So in conclusion….nothing ever comes at night except an intruder and a diseased dog. You never find out what the infection is or how it is contracted and the characters are so abhorrent that I found myself not caring if they survived or not.
Don’t waste your time or money on seeing this film.