What lies beyond the door

The 2017 film "It Comes at Night," directed by Trey Edward Shults, features a family that locks themselves away, afraid of what roams outside when the sun goes down (IMBD.com/"It Comes at Night")

With Halloween around the corner, the University of Northern Colorado’s International Film Series screened “It Comes at Night,” a 2017 mystery film directed by Trey Edward Shults. This movie is about family surviving in the woods after a strange disease kills most of the population.

The movie follows the life of Paul, his wife Sarah and their son Travis as they survive out in the woods on their own away from the city. They follow a strict regimen of getting firewood, getting water and keeping track of rations. Once night comes, however, Paul and his family stay inside in fear that “something” out there will get them. To protect themselves from the mysterious disease, the family wears masks, especially at night.

However, one night someone breaks into the family’s home desperately looking for water for his family. After much thought and careful scrutiny, they decide to let the man, Will, and his family stay with them in the house. As time passes, the movie shows Travis, a quiet teen having a series of nightmares that get worse as the movie goes on. Eventually they become waking nightmares; he has disturbing dreams of his grandfather and getting the disease himself.

The film is very open-ended and leaves the viewer with a lot of questions. When the movie starts, it’s unclear what exactly the disease is, or how it came about. Going back to the title, it’s unclear what exactly comes out at night. According to an article on The Verge, this was the goal of the director. Shults is reportedly a fan of apocalyptic horror, and he likes to focus on people; people fascinate him, and that’s what he was going for in this film. Interestingly, people also terrify the director, so in his films he likes to focus on what stressful situations do to people.

That could be why the “something” that comes out at night isn’t necessarily a physical monster or creature. The film is more physiological and focuses on how people act in stressful situations that make them desperate.


The IFS staff said they picked this movie because it was spooky, and it fit well with the upcoming holiday.

“It was just more of a push to get that spook out of the students,” said Dorian Wilkerson, a projectionist for IFS.

The movie received mixed reviews from students and staff.

Tara Hobbs, a sophomore cellular and molecular biology major, wasn’t a huge fan of the film and felt that there could’ve been more to the movie. Similarly, Felix Munoz, a junior double major in English and psychology, felt that the movie was a flop. For Munoz, there was few captivating scenes, but it wasn’t enough for the movie to be good.

“The only reason the movie was intense was because of the soundtrack,” Munoz said. “The moment you take the soundtrack away, it’s about a family walking around the house for no apparent reason.”

IFS projectionist Ethan Hayes, a sophomore English major, felt that the ending was rushed, but overall he liked the movie.

“Not exactly my favorite horror movie, but it was very suspenseful,” Hayes said.

IFS will screen “The Great Divide” at 7 p.m. Nov. 9 in the Lindou Auditorium in the lower level of Michener Library.


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