I've never been so relieved for a movie to end in my life.

When It Comes At Night came to an end, the entire audience collectively released the breath we'd all been inadvertently holding.

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This film isn't your average horror. It's part psychological thriller, part survival action flick. It takes on family and stranger dynamics, plays with dream sequences in the most haunting way and if I had to give it a name it would be something like existential horror.


The film follows a family of three during some kind of virus outbreak we know nothing about; we don't know how it started, how it works, what it does, how you catch it, or who has it. So when a stranger turns up with a family of his own, everyone is questioning what they would do for family, how to treat a stranger in need and the lengths they're willing to go to to survive.

And the horror aspect is truly remarkable. These aren't the kinds of cheap scares that come with a loud noise and a sudden movement, they're the kind of scares that build slowly inside you and feel like falling, when your whole body suddenly gets that swoop of pins and needles.

If you let yourself get fully immersed, you get pulled right into the pure paranoia of this film and I don't know that I've ever felt anything like it.

And here's the thing: There's no discernible threat. There's no monster, no point where everything blows out of proportion and ruins everything, no demons, zombies or murderers, and that's maybe what's so terrifying about this film.

You never know what's happening, you never know what's real or who to trust, you never know when the next scare is coming, and when it ends, you'll be left simultaneously annoyed, confused, saddened and utterly awed. Oh, and on-edge as hell.

It Comes At Night doesn't currently have an official release date yet, but judging from hugely positive overseas reactions, it's bound to hit cinemas in the near future.

Until then, there's one more screening with the NZ International Film Festival tomorrow at 4.30pm at Event Cinemas Queen Street, but tickets are said to be selling fast.

Check out NZIFF here.