The Stream: Long stretches of exposition bog down the movie.
The Big Screen: Patterson nails the sci-fi tone and sets a great pace.
The Final Bill: A surprising and creepy sci-fi flick that is well worth 90 minutes.-Trip Fontaine
Director: Andrew Patterson
Writers: Andrew Patterson (as James Montague), Craig W. Sanger
Stars: Sierra McCormick, Jake Horowitz, Gail Cronauer | See full cast & crew
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
Runtime: 1 hour 25 minutes
Platform: Prime Video
So, you want to watch a genre movie? Well, how about a good sci-fi mystery? The Vast of Night directed by Andrew Patterson may satisfy that craving. It premiered on Amazon Prime a couple weeks ago, and I caught up to this film on a night I wanted to be creeped out. Here’s how it turned out.
The Vast of Night is framed as an episode of a “Twilight Zone” inspired show, which immediately puts the audience in the mindset to expect the unexpected. Here, on one fateful night in a small New Mexico town in the 1950s, a local DJ, Everett, and a wide-eyed telephone operator, Faye, stumble upon a strange sound that portends mysteriousness for their town while the majority of the townspeople are at a local basketball game. Everett and Faye try to figure out what it all means and all as a sense of dread lurks around them.
The success of The Vast of Night all hinges on the harnessed ominous tone and the undercurrent of unease portrayed by the actors. Patterson does a great job of establishing dread. The camera lurks and leers behind and around Everett and Faye as they move through the town. There is constant movement by the camera and the main characters in the first third of the movie until it settles down. The world is built very effectively by the costumes and setting, which transports the audience to that time and instills that creepiness the production is trying to achieve. While the main actors are not well-known, Jake Horowitz and Sierra McCormick, who play Everett and Faye, respectively, have a great chemistry and make the fanciful believable. Horowitz, in particular, has the cadence and confidence needed to portray Everett and conveys the creepiness. Then, the pace is generally pretty good. At less than 90 minutes, the film does not waste a lot of time.
While the movie doesn’t waste much time, my main issue with The Vast of Night is that there are stretches of the dialogue that feel like long, tedious exposition. The film basically stops for 5-10 minutes at a time for side characters to tell a story about what’s about to happen. Even though the information in the dialogue is pertinent, it could have been delivered in more interesting ways – that’s one failure of the script.
Ultimately, The Vast of Night is a good way to spend about 90 minutes. The mood is on point. There is a palpable sense of dread throughout and the characters feed into it. Grab a bowl of popcorn and enjoy.