Tonight She Comes (2016)

Seen as part of the International Horror and Sci-Fi Film Festival and the Phoenix Film Festival 2017

Tonight She Comes arrived with a festival buzz like a swarm of hornets. So, how is it? Plot paragraph …

A group of strangers find themselves fighting a supernatural evil in a remote cabin in the woods. As night falls dark magic must be invoked and extreme rituals performed in a desperate bid to end the madness but will anyone survive until morning?

I am happy to report that for me Tonight She Comes was deliciously deviant and divinely deranged. Like Raw from earlier this year Tonight She Comes is the very definition of a divisive movie. It has some intense insanity on display and moves so fast that many may feel out of their standard “Hollywood horror” comfort zone.

As I saw Tonight She Comes at a festival there were a number of critics and podcasters present. A few suggested afterwards that “there wasn’t enough back-story” and the filmmakers “threw everything at the screen just to be shocking”. I can see how they think that but I would humbly suggest that they are missing the point.

Backstory. Tonight She Comes drops the audience directly into the madness, just like the characters in the movie. This is a movie where a group of strangers (to both the audience and each other) are thrown together and have no time to think, only time to act.

Real life doesn’t always come with a neat little backstory, doesn’t always provide a ‘why’. Sometimes you just have to deal and hope you can figure stuff out in time. Accordingly sometimes the characters in Tonight She Comes make the right choice, sometimes (uh-oh) not so much.

Far from simply “throwing everything at the screen just to be shocking” I would suggest that writer / director Matt Stuertz knew exactly how far the characters in the story would need to go to accomplish their aims within the logic of their universe and was brave enough to go there. Kudos here to makeup effects team headed by Shae Spradley for making it happen.

I especially loved that all the ‘good’ characters were at best misguided and dumb or at worst unlikable assholes. It didn’t matter that I didn’t care for them. Tonight She Comes is all about endurance in the face of unimaginable madness.

For me the standout character was Felicity fearlessly played by Jenna McDonald. Her father Francis portrayed by Frankie Ray and brother Philip (Brock Russell) were also suitably off the charts. I also really liked the creepy asshat with issues Pete as brought to life by Adam Hartley.

Regarding the much talked about “gratuitous” gore, I would simply suggest that the story demanded it and the filmmakers were brave enough to step up. Kudos to them for doing so. Some may find the images shocking but, hey, when you’re dealing with ancient dark forces it ain’t always PG-13 pretty to look at.

People have mentioned The Evil Dead when speaking about Tonight She Comes and I think the comparison is valid. Like The Evil Dead, Tonight She Comes is grueling, dark, occasionally funny as hell, and has a reality all its own. The reality of this madness looks beautiful, even the nasty stuff, thanks to the brilliant eye of Cinematographer Chris Benson. Kudos to him and the crew.

Before I go I have to mention the awesome music from composer Wojciech Golczewski who penned the soundtrack for one of my top movies of last year We Are Still Here. The Tonight She Comes soundtrack is divine.

The only thing I am unhappy about is that I have to wait weeks or months to see Tonight She Comes again (and again). Despite the strength of Raw and other movies on the horizon for 2017, right now for me Tonight She Comes is far and away the best dark horror movie of the year.

I frikken loved it.

Two word review: Damned delicious.

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