'The Vast of Night' Review: An Out of This World Directorial Debut



Meg Shields:

Set in the paranoiac shadow of the Cold War, The Vast of Night follows two teens who stumble upon a bizarre frequency that has descended upon their small New Mexico town. Framed in the fuzzy glow of a Twilight Zone-esque broadcast, the film uses its connective genre tissue to its advantage rather than out of any cloying attempt to activate nostalgia.

In this way, The Vast of Night makes a worthy successor to Black Christmas for that coveted Best Use of a Switchboard In a Genre Film superlative.

The film sound design is inescapable and essential; from the hum of crickets to the winding of magnetic tape to the tactile bumps of hit-record buttons. We frequently (and boldly) dip into moments of complete blackness; dark pitch where only sound pervades and there is no choice but to really listen.

Erick Alexander and Jared Bulmer pulsing drum of a score is a festival-best and evocatively deployed during the film most audacious 'how the fuck did they do that? ? ' At one point, the film touches upon race in a way that both makes sense within the realities of the time while avoiding feeling damage-centered or exploitative.

On the whole, the film packs an eerie, paranoid punch that also succeeds in being endlessly sweet, in no small part due to breakout performances from Horowitz and Mc Cormick. The Vast of Night is a smaller, wonderful discovery of a film, and to bum a quote from Horowitz Evertt, it really razzes our berries.

Published on September 10, 2019
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