If you only look at the surface numbers, this was a pretty predictable week at the box office. Wonder Woman did well, The Mummy did not, and everything else shook out accordingly. That being said, there’s some pretty interesting narratives emerging in the how and why of this weekend’s box office report. Let’s take a look at the rankings as of Sunday afternoon and dive into some of the specifics:
Trey Edward Shults’ follow-up to last year’s Krisha is an intimately unnerving post-apocalyptic horror-drama in which the real threat isn’t outside — it’s already lurking within. Even without knowing the story that inspired It Comes at Night, Shults’ latest feels far more personal than his directorial debut and every bit as disquieting (and then some). I sat down with Shults the day after a special screening of It Comes at Night, which involved a bus ride out to an undisclosed location in the middle of the woods and seemed like an elaborate ploy to murder us all.
Tales of the apocalypse are no longer particularly terrifying in 2017, when the end of the world feels all but impending. The real horror is what happens after the world ends, when the surviving few are forced to continue on and cope with what’s left of it. The same could also be said for the devastating experience of losing a loved one, especially if that loss is unnatural and witnessed firsthand by the bereaved. This is the concept that profoundly transforms the basic premise of It Comes at Night into an emotional thesis in which filmmaker Trey Edward Shults posits grief as a personal post-apocalypse — how do you live in the end of the world after your world comes to an end?
Boutique studio A24 has made a name for themselves by doing things differently — that goes for the movies they buy, how they’re released, and especially how they’re promoted. The latest trailer for their upcoming thriller It Comes At Night mercifully eschews the Inception BWAAAAAAM and the creepy-children pop cover for a novel approach, pairing context-free images from the film with various disturbing quotes about fear, distrust, and evil. Instead of using pull-quotes from glowing reviews, the A24 marketing team figured they couldn’t get an endorsement more ringing than one of serial murderer Charles Manson’s family motto.
The calendar may have four seasons, but Hollywood’s calendar only really has two at this point: summer and awards, and summer seems to last longer and longer ever year. Though the start of May has long been the unofficial kickoff of the S.M.S., 2017 has already seen a King Kong movie, a ghost in a shell, and the fate of Fast & Furious franchise. The change from April to May is something of a formality in 2017. Once the Oscars are over, the summer begins.
Pronouns — terrifying, right? At least when they don’t have antecedents, that is. There’s suspense baked right into the title of It Comes At Night, the upcoming feature from Trey Edward Shults, director of last year’s self-assured debut Krisha. So what is the ‘it,’ and why is it coming at night? The attendees of the Overlook Film Festival are keeping mum, having gotten the first glimpse at the film this past weekend when it popped up as the festival’s secret surprise screening. They offered rapturous but spoiler-free praise, but luckily for the rest of us, a new trailer and poster have surfaced to shed a little light on what’s going on while simultaneously compounding the mystery.