The Devil Comes at Night: A Shadowy Thriller That Ensnares Through Fear of the Dark

The Devil Comes at Night slithers into your psyche with all the subtly of a serpent in the dead of night. Directed by Scott Leaver, who co-wrote the screenplay with stars Ryan Allen and Adrienne Kress, the film plunges viewers into darkness and danger from the opening frame.  

We first meet Ben, a former boxer whose glory days in the ring have long since faded behind a haze of booze and regret. He’s come to his late father’s farmhouse in search of an inheritance rumored to be hidden within a mysterious safe. But instead of riches, Ben finds only a sinister note warning him to “keep all lights off and stay quiet.” Ominous words that he ultimately fails to heed, sealing his fate as prey in a lethal game of cat and mouse.

Before Ben has even had time to unpack his bags, the floorboards begin creaking with sinister intent and strange noises sound from the depths of the basement below. The few neighbors Ben encounters seem ordinary upon first meeting, but their mundane questions soon turn peculiar, then persistently prying. It rapidly becomes apparent that Ben’s presence is most unwelcome—and that escaping this place with his life may prove a far greater challenge than any bout he faced in the ring. 

The Devil Comes at Night

Shrouded in shadows and secrets from its first frame, The Devil Comes at Night ensnares viewers through ever-mounting mystery and suspense rather than gore or cheap theatrics. Cinematographer Nelson Rogers deftly wields darkness as its own character, allowing our imagination to conjure unseen terrors far more chilling than any makeup or special effect. Backed by a score of strange noises, rumbles and screams in the black, Rogers’ skilled work leaves us blind but sensing we are never alone.

We know not what stalks Ben through this house of horrors, only that the malevolence surrounding him seems as thick as the walls themselves. Every creak of the floorboards holds malice. Each flicker of the dying bulbs threatens to plunge us into a lightless abyss from which there is no escape. And when escape does come, if at all, battling the grim demons of this place may require steel far stronger than mere muscle and bone.

Shadows dance on the walls of our subconscious, giving form to shapeless terrors in a dark masterpiece of atmosphere and suspense. With minimal effects and resources, director Scott Leaver has crafted a chilling thriller that ensnares audiences through the oldest fear of all—the dread of what unseen evils may lurk, waiting to pounce, in the dark of night. 

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