One of the most mysterious upcoming films of 2017, “It Comes At Night” first hit the public eye with a teaser trailer that offered very little detail on exactly what we can expect from this horror thriller. Now A24 has released a longer, more detailed trailer giving us our first real look at the action, suspense, and potential horror the movie will provide so I decide to break it down a bit in my trailer reaction.
The trailer opens with Joel Edgerton’s Paul seemingly interrogating Christopher Abbott’s Will, who we see tied up to a tree with a sack over his head. Paul is in a gas mask with a rifle on his back, but soon takes the mask off and says he wants honest answers about Will’s knowledge of “what’s going on out there”. This immediately sets a few things straight about this film in a short 20 seconds. Obviously there’s distrust among the characters. There’s plenty of tension in this one short moment alone as Paul’s voice is so calming, but direct. The context also tells us that Paul is hiding from something, setting up an almost apocalyptic tone to the trailer implying there is something everyone wants to avoid, or at least that Paul is hiding from and that Will should avoid. What that is is left a mystery for now.
Then we get a massive wide shot of endless woods setting the scene. We know this will take place, as many horror films do, in the middle of basically nowhere. These characters are far away from society. Why? Well we don’t really know yet but we know there will be nowhere to go once the action kicks in. This shot may not offer a lot of answers, but it forces the viewer to ask all the right questions. Where are they? Why are they there? How will they escape? All those cool questions that every great horror movie tries to answer.
Then we get the A24 logo and a look at the two families that will make up the movie’s cast. In a change of tone we see a conversation between Paul and Will where Paul says he will try to help Will’s family. Paul’s wife Sarah is portrayed by Carmen Ejogo while Kelvin Harrison, Jr. plays their son Travis. Will has a young child of his own and has ehat we can assume to be his wife Kim, played by Riley Keough, with him as well. Dialogue shows us that Paul is a very strict and organized person. He instructs his new guests that they must stay together during the day and never go out at night at which point we learn of the now semi-iconic symbol of this potential horror hit.
The red door, which was featured heavily in the teaser trailer, is finally opened, or rather closed as we see it open for the first time. Paul has the only key and says it stays closed and locked all the time. We see Travis discover that the door is open, unaware of who opened it or how, and his discovery of an unseen horror before he wakes up, making us question if he was dreaming the door being opened or if his dream is simply a tool to tease the audience of the horror to come. Travis will apparently be a major character in this film and the middle part of the trailer sets him up to be the viewer’s guide through part of the action, or at least understanding what is taking place through more innocent eyes.
We also get an interesting quick look at a dog barking at an unseen entity and this was my favorite part of the trailer. Now I re-watched this particular part of the trailer probably 20 times to make sure I wasn’t seeing things, which is amazingly awesome thing for a trailer to make me have to do, and it does appear there is movement by an invisible being in front of or near the dog. What’s important about this little tidbit is that it tells the audience that what is terrorizing the families may not be as obvious as we might want to believe and that the rest of the film may be filled with subtle moments that will require several viewings or a careful eye to catch everything that leads up to the eventually conclusion. I could be reading way to much into this particular moment in the trailer, but that’s what these reaction posts are for right?
Anyways getting back on track we watch as paranoia starts to take hold of Paul and the tension builds again as Travis explains a “sickness” to Will’s wife Kim who asks how hold he is. Then we get an important and quite gross scene where it appears Kim kisses Travis, leaving a dark material on Travis’ lips. The dark material could be blood or bile or some other result of whatever the sickness is that Travis is talking about meaning Kim could be “infected”. We don’t know if this is a dream or reality. This could simply be a fantasy Travis is living that breaths life into his fear of the sickness, but it’s an intriguing scene that promises to be the source of some revelation or controversy among the characters in the movie.
As the trailer reaches its end we see a slew of quick cut shots including Paul’s wife Sarah taking off a gasmask, Will walking through the woods with a gun pointed ahead of him, Travis standing before a burning home, and a brief exchange between Paul and Will where Paul repeats his line from the first trailer, “If you wrong me I will kill you”. It appears this will indeed be what happens as we see more cut scenes of Paul with a rifle and Will beating the ever living existence out of something. The trailer then reveals it’s tagline “fear turns men into monsters”.
The final moment before the trailer ends shows either Paul or Will with a gasmask, gun pointed at the red door before the door flies open. Considering what we know and a close look at the face I’m going to say it’s Paul behind that mask. So who opens the door? Is this the enemy that will haunt the characters throughout the film or a paranoid and enraged Will or Paul (whoever is not behind the mask) continuing their assault? It’s a brilliantly detailed ending to a trailer that draws the viewer back to the question we all had when it all started, what is behind that door? What should we be afraid of? Is it the anger and violence of our own paranoia, or something else entirely?
Personally I can’t wait for this movie. This first extended trailer has given me no reason to doubt that “It Comes At Night” will be a fun, suspenseful, and hopefully delightfully scary time at the theater in a year where the horror genre needs some fresh blood. “It Comes At Night” will hit theaters June 9. You can bet I’ll be there. Will you? Take a look at the full trailer below and let me know what you think?