Film Review: Gone In The Night
GONE IN THE NIGHT, a refreshingly self-contained mystery thriller from Eli Horowitz, is in theatres now. It is led by Winona Ryder, fresh off season four of STRANGER THINGS. However, GONE IN THE NIGHT does not need to rely on its star power to capture an audience. It is a remarkably riveting puzzle of a film that will hook and surprise even a seasoned viewer of the detective genre.
As co-creator/co-showrunner of podcast turned television show HOMECOMING, Eli Horowitz has been making his way through entertainment mediums, with GONE IN THE NIGHT being his directorial debut. Horowitz may hang around the feature film medium for a while if this film is any indication of future work. Let’s hope so!
When Kath (Winona Ryder) and her boyfriend arrive at a remote cabin in the redwoods, they find it has been double booked, with a creepy young couple already there. As it is late, they decide to share the cabin with the strangers for the night. When her boyfriend mysteriously disappears with the young woman, Kath becomes obsessed with finding an explanation for their sudden breakup. But her search for answers only leads to more sinister questions.
GONE IN THE NIGHT is a thriller packed with pure intrigue. Its secrets are revealed just enough to keep you on edge as the film progresses, without exposing major twists until needed. As the plot unravels in flashbacks and differing perspectives, expect audible shock from spectators. Add a dark and cathartic ending to all this, and GONE IN THE NIGHT is an expert lesson in storytelling from Horowitz and cowriter Matthew Derby.
Another reason to see GONE IN THE NIGHT is the nuanced way it confronts society’s preoccupation with staying young and the existential predicament of staring at your mortality as you age. Not only did the film keep me on edge, but it forced me to acknowledge the unsettling realisation that ‘millennial’ is no longer synonymous with young. Not merely a taut thriller, GONE IN THE NIGHT addresses the dystopian qualities of present-day strategies we use to delay getting old. Have we already gone too far?
The number of twists in the film is held together by the performances; the solid acting stops them from being too over the top, thankfully keeping them out of M. Night Shyamalan joke territory. Ryder is unsurprisingly flawless, and her presence adds an extra layer to the film’s themes- as she shows her previous role as a mother won’t typecast her despite how iconic STRANGER THINGS has become.
Dermot Mulroney (HANNA) and John Gallagher Jr. (WESTWORLD) are tasked with characters of ambiguous morality, which they knock out of the park. Brianne Tju (I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER) and Owen Teague (IT) make an excellent pair of antagonists, clearly channelling the inherent evil that resides deep in Gen Z. Their menacing performances help pull off the intricate and distinctive reverse-home invasion structure of the film’s first act.
GONE IN THE NIGHT hit theatres on Friday and so is a must see for those looking to be surprised at every turn. And for those who want poignant questions (such as why a woman being older than her partner is still considered a slightly frowned upon abnormality) asked in compelling ways.
“As the plot unravels in flashbacks and differing perspectives, expect audible shock from spectators”