The Vast of Night (2019)
Pssst, want to check out The Vast of Night in our new look?
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I've seen many small SF/horror movies lately that are clear tributes to The Twilight Zone, but The Vast of Night really wears it on its sleeve, with a more overt reference right up top. Indeed, we often return to the odd free-standing cathode-tube screen over the course of the movie, and sometimes even go to a black frame, turning the film into radio. Perhaps an evocation of Orson Wells' War of the Worlds broadcast? This is, after all, a UFO story as seen through the eyes and ears of a radio disc jockey and a telephone operator in a sleepy 1950s town. A triumph of style over substance, there's a lot to admire in terms of recreating an era, letting the camera glide around town to create a clear geography, and letting the story play out as a kind of radio play. Think, if you can, of a mix between Signs and Pontypool. Unfortunately, it's not as clever or original as Pontypool, and I feel we're heading for an inescapable conclusion and not much of a twist at all. As a movie, it looks cool and takes chances. Its characters are good, especially Sierra McCormick who is quite convincing as a period teen. As a plot, it's rather generic, and the audience if forever ahead of the characters.
There are definitely things to like (including some unnerving parts in the second half), but the sleep-inducing pace and hazy, murky photography are not among them. Disappointing.
A television-episode plot poorly stretched into a feature length movie. Some interesting ideas, but it's more 'tell' than 'show'.
to see which of your friends have seen this movie!