Initially I wanted to see this film because it was getting some great reviews. A24 is the studio that is behind this film, and lately they have been producing some of my favorite films: Moonlight, Swiss Army Man, and Ex Machina are just some of their films. Because of this, I opted not to watch any trailers. Interestingly enough, while critics still like this film quite a bit, audience members do not. Why? The trailers make it seem like this film is more of a horror film, which is absolutely is not. There are horror elements throughout (kind of), but this is a tense thriller that is also a really good film.
If you’re lying to me, I will kill you.
There is not a lot that I do not like about this film. One of the issues I may have is that it does drag on a bit. It may only be an hour an a half, but at times the film did feel like it was dragging on a bit. This is mostly in the very beginning of the film, and right around the middle. There are also quite a few nightmare scenes in the film that seemingly do not have a purpose for being in the film.
Perhaps they are in the film to show how frightened Travis is of the outside world. Other than these minor quibbles, there is a lot to enjoy in this film. Much like all the other A24 films I have seen, this is expertly shot. From beginning to end the cinematography was top notch. The writing in the film is also quite good. I had no idea that this would be more of a post-apocalyptic film, and it was a delight trying to figure out what exactly was going on. The film does not offer many answers in that regard, but there are clues sprinkled throughout. The world that has been created in this film feels very much “lived in”, which made it easier for me to immerse myself in the characters.
You can’t trust anyone but family.
The acting in this film is also really great. The two actors that truly stand out for me is Joel Edgerton and Kelvin Harrison Jr. The rest of the cast is also really good, but these two brought so much depth and conflict to their characters. There is a scene in the film between Kelvin Harrison Jr. and Riley Keough that is so great.
It is just the two of them speaking in the middle of the night, but their acting was so natural. I hope to see all of these actors doing much more in the future. As I mentioned earlier in the review, this film is not a horror film. Keeping that in mind, there are a handful of scenes that are so tense. For a film that keeps much of its world shrouded in secrecy, it needs the tense scenes to be effective. Whether it is an unknown entity in the middle of the night, or a conversation between strangers, I constantly found myself on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next.
I do not understand why people do not like this film. Even if you thought you were going to see a horror film, this is simply a really good film. It may not have scares, but it has some solid writing, good performances, and a tense narrative. A24 is still on a roll, and I am very much looking forward to their next release: A Ghost Story.