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It Comes at Night (2017)
August 13, 2017, 12:38 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Trey Edward Shults
3 Stars
It Comes At Night.jpgIt Comes at Night uses its runtime to navigate a well-trod genre trope—in the post-apocalyptic world, strangers are inherently untrustworthy. After the bulk of humanity has been wiped out by what seems to be a bacterial infection, the last survivors scrape by where they can and contend for food and land. Joel Edgerton’s patriarch, stoic and stubborn, justifies all of his actions by pronouncing that he is doing it all to protect the family. At some point, the sentiment becomes so repeated that it begins to seem ridiculous, particularly in the brutal finale. Director Trey Edward Shults nicely establishes the nightmarish mood through a slowly-gliding camera down a corridor, suggesting not only death’s inevitability but its somewhat enticing draw. He’s an efficient filmmaker on both aesthetic and narrative grounds, however one questions if the material is under-conceived—the violent actions of desperate people is a tired cliche by now, and Shults doesn’t do much to make the audience consider the theme in a new way. The ending dwells even deeper into the miserablism, which doesn’t seem so much radical as it does inevitable in a world in which The Walking Dead maintains its popularity through merciless slaughter. If the film is tense and the mood is nicely set, it leaves the audience depressed and—worse—bored by the familiarity of the material.

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Krisha (2015)
May 28, 2016, 7:14 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Trey Edward Shults
2.5 Stars
KrishaThe opening sequence of Krisha follows a woman exiting her car and searching for the home where the family she’s long since alienated herself from inhabits. When she finally finds the correct house and is invited inside, the camera stays behind her, taking in the sheer noise of a family get-together and the overwhelming deluge of friendly greetings. At its best, Krisha is almost darkly comical in the way that it presents anxiety—even the simple act of a relative bouncing a tennis ball on the floor is distorted into something macabre and horrific, the sort of repetitive noise that keeps everyone in proximity on edge. Director Trey Edward Shults uses the formal excess one would expect of a first time filmmaker (for better or for worse), and the musical score by Brian McOmber is grating and unsettling, amplifying the sense of nervousness. Anyone who has difficulty with large family gatherings (that’s all of us, right?) will identify with the feeling that all the faux-friendly conversations are waiting to burst at the seams, resentments powering through due to the nauseating anxiety of it all. Unfortunately, however, as Krisha develops more specifically into a character study of an addict, it seems overburdened by the sense of dread and misery. Shults is content with striking the same chord repeatedly before the credits roll—if the apocalyptic disaster of it all feels emotionally true, one doesn’t feel like they have a remarkably progressed understanding of the family dynamic by the end of it.