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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 12:20 pm 
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Trey Edward Shults' direction wasn't befitting of how minimal of a story this film was out to tell, because he is explosively talented and I just wanted to see more from this than it was willing to give. There's nothing wrong with the film per se (quite the contrary), but it would've been worthwhile for Shults to consider fleshing out the late 2nd act so that the absolutely gut-wrenching conclusion packed even more heft than it did. A good comparison point for this film would be last year's excellent 10 Cloverfield Lane, but that film had much higher aims and hit all of them - It Comes at Night feels like Paul Thomas Anderson behind the camera for an adaptation of an episode of a Telltale video game. I can only wonder at this point what Shults will be able to do if he can write himself something truly transcendent that doesn't carry the unfortunate burden of being derivative of what seems like so many other stories being told in films and television at the moment. For now, we'll just have to live with this pretty good, very tense horror film and wonder what might follow.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 3:36 am 
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Box office bomb; D cinemascore


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 8:24 pm 
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Why Do Prestige-Horror Trailers Keep Lying to Us?
Jordan Crucchiola wrote:
If you went to see the new horror movie It Comes at Night this past weekend, chances are you saw a movie that was entirely different from the one you were expecting. Based on the movie’s trailers, you might have thought you were getting a highbrow take on a cabin-in-the-woods movie, with an unknown terror waiting to jump out at any moment. What you got instead was a dark, deliberate rumination on what it means to be human in a violent, unstructured world. That’s a movie that one subset of horror fans will love, but it’s not the movie A24 was selling.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 8:30 pm 
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jbeall wrote:
Why Do Prestige-Horror Trailers Keep Lying to Us?
Jordan Crucchiola wrote:
If you went to see the new horror movie It Comes at Night this past weekend, chances are you saw a movie that was entirely different from the one you were expecting. Based on the movie’s trailers, you might have thought you were getting a highbrow take on a cabin-in-the-woods movie, with an unknown terror waiting to jump out at any moment. What you got instead was a dark, deliberate rumination on what it means to be human in a violent, unstructured world. That’s a movie that one subset of horror fans will love, but it’s not the movie A24 was selling.

Hah, funny. A24 has talked about this, but they had a similar strategy with Spring Breakers - they purposely marketed that film as something else, knowing that the target audience (for the marketing, not the film) would be far greater. I can't recall their exact words, but they knew there would be a huge backlash/dropoff after the first weekend - I think the gamble was that the film would get the arthouse audience through word-of-mouth, and distribution to other markets would be helped by the bigger opening weekend.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 9:36 pm 
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A24 has done that a lot to be honest. The VVitch got a lot of the same complaints.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 11:17 pm 
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They are following a proud tradition of indie distros lying to audiences to get butts in seats. It doesn't bother me at all, they recouped their costs in one weekend and can make or distro several more films like this with the eventual returns


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 10:03 am 
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domino harvey wrote:
They are following a proud tradition of indie distros lying to audiences to get butts in seats. It doesn't bother me at all, they recouped their costs in one weekend and can make or distro several more films like this with the eventual returns


But on the other side, you create this needless double-think where you have your initial reaction based on the marketing and then you have to correct it because "it might be something else" (Drive is another great example of this ... and I almost brushed it off because of the marketing).


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 12:14 pm 
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djproject wrote:
But on the other side, you create this needless double-think where you have your initial reaction based on the marketing and then you have to correct it because "it might be something else" (Drive is another great example of this ... and I almost brushed it off because of the marketing).

I think they are banking on the fact that those who are likely to seek out these sort of indie films will read reviews and find forum discussion, in spite of what the trailer implies. The only downside to putting out a dishonest marketing campaign is that you are going to see user reviews plummet, but who on this forum takes user reviews all that seriously anyway? As long as they get more people that opening weekend than they alienate through bad reviews later on, it's a win for the company. And for every individual who ends up liking the film they are "tricked" into viewing, the indie audience base grows.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2017 3:46 pm 
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mfunk9786 wrote:
Trey Edward Shults' direction wasn't befitting of how minimal of a story this film was out to tell, because he is explosively talented and I just wanted to see more from this than it was willing to give. There's nothing wrong with the film per se (quite the contrary), but it would've been worthwhile for Shults to consider fleshing out the late 2nd act so that the absolutely gut-wrenching conclusion packed even more heft than it did. A good comparison point for this film would be last year's excellent 10 Cloverfield Lane, but that film had much higher aims and hit all of them - It Comes at Night feels like Paul Thomas Anderson behind the camera for an adaptation of an episode of a Telltale video game. I can only wonder at this point what Shults will be able to do if he can write himself something truly transcendent that doesn't carry the unfortunate burden of being derivative of what seems like so many other stories being told in films and television at the moment. For now, we'll just have to live with this pretty good, very tense horror film and wonder what might follow.
Your thoughts here basically summed up my initial reaction to It Comes at Night as well - an artifact more exciting for the potential on display (both in Shults and the excellent cast, including Riley Keough and Christopher Abbott) than the film itself - but as I've been turning it over in my head for the past week, I'm starting to come around to the view that there's more of subversive value here than I at first appreciated.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
The film powerfully illustrates the corrosive effects of fear - and its close cousin, grief - on its central family. While the audience is given most access to the perspective of the young adult son (a quite good Kelvin Harrison Jr. as Travis), whose nights are constantly disturbed with horrific dream imagery, I think the film is even more interested in his parents. Through Travis, we watch as his parents' fear and overwhelming desire to protect him and each other leads them to the most grim and inexcusable of actions - which, of course, are still not enough to protect the family from the dangers of the world around them. The final shot of Joel Edgerton's Paul and Carmen Ejogo's Sarah staring at each other across a table, alone and infected, is a bleak and emotionally crushing but necessary end to the film because it focuses attention on their actions in the face of the fear of death, and how those actions contrast with Sarah's plea to first her father and then her son to "let go". It's easy to tell someone without hope of survival to let go, that it will be OK... but not as easy to act on that directive when you think you can still make it out alive.

I think the audience expectations for a film with this title dovetail with the way Shults constantly stages scenes to suggest that there's something more horrific and less banal than the plague of death that already surrounds its characters, when in fact there's nothing coming at night except the fear that keeps Travis sleepless and drives his parents' actions. Shults expertly beckons the audience to a place where the expectation of unknown horrors makes them more susceptible to the stark "ends justifying means" mindset that drives Paul and Sarah to do what they do, and makes the lack of reveal of the suggested greater threat harder to process than the more straightforward morality tale Shults is actually telling here. The film accelerates the timeline of Paul and Sarah having to face the ultimate reality of what they've done, but even if they'd survived the plague and society had reconstituted itself, it's easy to imagine the couple eventually having to face mortality again, and sharing the same look that ends the film, questioning the cost of their brief respite from the fear of death.

While I still hope that Shults will deliver and develop even more as his career continues, I've come around to thinking that this is a fine film in its own right, and I'd bet that appreciation for it will grow as it is divorced from the expectations and marketing discussed above.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 3:58 am 
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The biggest flaw of the film and the probable reason why it flopped and scored so low with audiences, is mismanaged expectations. As a low key, post apocalyptic chamber piece the film is fine, even if doesn't go anywhere dozens of films haven't already been. But the film was heavily marketed as a horror film. If you call your film It Comes at Night, something other than a vague metaphor better come at night. In It Follows, "It" really followed. All of its scariest moments are revealed to be dream sequences, which to anybody expecting a horror film, feels like a cop out. I get it, paranoia and suspicion are the monster here, but that's hardly fresh. Shults has style to spare, but I'm not sure how long he'll get away with basing his films on no more than a situation.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 5:35 am 
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So yeah, the issue is actually people going to watch a movie but still being clueless about what it's about, and then deciding it's not their fault, but really the movie's.

It'd be like parents bringing their kids to Sausage Party but oh my god, it's an animated movie, how could it be so much not for kids ?


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:06 am 
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Disclosure: I've not seen the film but the false advertising is open knowledge by now and if I was Shults, I'd be pretty cross with A24 for misselling the movie. Okay, they may not have made as much money without that ploy but it's perhaps it's time for filmmakers to insist on a clause in their contract that they're entitled to having a say in how their work is promoted.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 9:28 am 

Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 6:14 am
Why should he? It's like the Spring Breakers and Drive. It got more people to see the film and talk about. Sure a lot of clueless watchers were irritated they got something else, but all those movies made a profit and most people who actually care about films found them good. This film has a high RT score and made about around 4x its budget. I'd call that a success, especially for Shults


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:17 am 
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I wasn't criticizing the film for underwhelming audiences, but it's promotion. Even it's title is a horror movie title it doesn't deliver on. At least Drive is about a Driver and Spring Breaker is about spring breakers (and the R-rating of Sausage Party would be a clue)

That said, even as a post apocalyptic movie, I found It Comes at Night far from inspired. A bunch of survivors cooped up in one location after the apocalypse turn on each other is a scenario so common, it has even has been parodied in the black comedy It's a Disaster, which was far more entertaining. Sure, the acting is good and the film is strong on atmosphere, but I'm still scratching my head as to what attracted Shults to that particlur scenario, without taking it somewhere it hadn't gone before.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:50 pm 

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I was replying to Finch more, as if I was a director of a small indie film in today's climate I wouldn't mind the distributor making the film seem more marketable than it might end up being.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 2:58 pm 
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I guess for me, it's a matter of principle; I can't stand it when there's disingenuous marketing even if it potentially yields a bigger audience. Thing is, if most of that audience walks away pissed off because your distributor isn't being honest about what your movie is, it might put them off from checking out your future films, too. Again, that'd be their loss, of course, and I do gather that even if you do take the movie on its actual terms, it's supposedly not all that outstanding, but still, I think, nobody should be in a position where they should have to say, don't trust the marketing of my movie. Who knows, maybe Shults didn't mind. I know, I would have.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 3:19 pm 
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Finch wrote:
I guess for me, it's a matter of principle; I can't stand it when there's disingenuous marketing even if it potentially yields a bigger audience. Thing is, if most of that audience walks away pissed off because your distributor isn't being honest about what your movie is, it might put them off from checking out your future films, too. Again, that'd be their loss, of course, and I do gather that even if you do take the movie on its actual terms, it's supposedly not all that outstanding, but still, I think, nobody should be in a position where they should have to say, don't trust the marketing of my movie. Who knows, maybe Shults didn't mind. I know, I would have.


The effect was far more immediate with It Comes at Night. There was a sharp box office drop off on the weekend of its release, when poor word of mouth got round regarding the film. The film didn't make as much as was projected. It was a low budget film but it was a wide release. Despite making more than it's budget, the publicity cost more than its production and the film may have lost money.

http://deadline.com/2017/06/wonder-woma ... 202111169/


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 4:14 pm 

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I think that's more to the film not actually being all that great anyway (personally don't know), as VVitch can prove. I would think most people who actually just see a trailer to decide if they want to see a film won't care exactly who the director is, but I might be wrong. I rarely watch trailers myself and goes in blind


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:59 am 
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So you know how even really good horror films like House of the Devil have that inevitable moment you make allowances for when the pervasive dread gives way to a more literal and inherently suspense-deflating "horror" that I guess allows the film to be officially classified as such? Zombies or witches or vampires or whatever. That never happens here. But if that's what it takes to be a horror film, then maybe you don't want to be one? All that notwithstanding, in terms of both content and tone, this is absolutely a horror film. One with arthouse leanings, sure, but to call the marketing campaign disingenuous is to demand that the genre stereotype itself into irrelevance. With people and circumstances like these, no other monsters need apply.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:41 am 
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swo17 wrote:
So you know how even really good horror films like House of the Devil have that inevitable moment you make allowances for when the pervasive dread gives way to a more literal and inherently suspense-deflating "horror" that I guess allows the film to be officially classified as such? Zombies or witches or vampires or whatever. That never happens here. But if that's what it takes to be a horror film, then maybe you don't want to be one? All that notwithstanding, in terms of both content and tone, this is absolutely a horror film. One with arthouse leanings, sure, but to call the marketing campaign disingenuous is to demand that the genre stereotype itself into irrelevance. With people and circumstances like these, no other monsters need apply.


I won't argue with that the film can be described as a psychological horror film but the trailer, the poster with the watchful dog and the generic horror movie title imply that the threat of the film is some sort of monster or zombie menace, that something lurks in the night. I already thought that A24 misadvertised The Witch as a more traditional and a more scary horror film than it ended up being, but that film delivered on its genre trappings. The authentic feeling period drama of religious hysteria was more novel then yet another post apocalyptic chamber piece. It took me two viewings to fully appreciate The Witch after recallibrating my expectations and at least it does deliver something more original than It Comes at Night. In both films, paranoia is the monster but The Witch actually delivered on its title. I doubt I'll re-watch It Comes at Night any time soon, because apart from Shult's gift for atmosphere and the performances, there isn't anything fresh here. It's every post apocalyptic, one-location movie I've ever seen. I would be fine if I'd gotten something different from what was promised, but for me at least the film didn't do enough with its premise.

A24's promotional campaigns are elegant and artful, but there appears to be evidence that audiences feel misled, with poor audience scores and sharp box office drop offs for both films. At least The Witch managed to haul in a lot more money before attendance fell off.

House of the Devil does indeed fall apart once the supernatural genre trappings take over in the last act and I'd say ruinously so. That's not the case for every supernatural horror film though.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:49 am 
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All horror movies have sharp drop-offs. It's not exclusive to the two A24 releases.


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