At Night Comes Wolves begins with a woman trying to make her husband happy on his birthday. Leah (Gabi Alves) is dressed in a Wonder Woman costume, and Vivaldi’s “Summer” plays loudly through the scene as she seduces him. Leah catches her husband watching porn shortly after; she wonders what she’s done wrong. This sets the stage for the film with a promising premise; an anti-misogyny horror film, about a woman who leaves her husband and finds the members of a former cult — only to learn that the cult members used to be led by none other than her husband.
Leah’s relationship with her husband seems unhealthy in a lot of ways that could seem mundane. He’s not physically abusing her, but the dynamic between the two of them is toxic; she needs to please, he can’t be pleased. It doesn’t help that the two actors have no chemistry together. It’s hard to believe that they’re a married couple, when most of the time they seem like awkward strangers. When he begins to berate her, it’s almost like a caricature of a misogynistic man, as he yells about how stupid he thinks women are.
We’re abruptly taken to a title card that reads “The Future: After the Incident”. After driving until she runs out of gas, Leah soon meets Mary May (Sarah Serio). Mary May is a little too understanding and kind. She sweetly runs off a list of the kind of monsters that men can be, and invites Leah to come live in the woods with her. It’s really strange and, like Leah’s lack of chemistry with her husband, hard to believe that this relationship between the two women would form so quickly.
Most of the scene changes in At Night Comes Wolves feel sudden and without much explanation. There’s a side-story about a couple who are searching for someone; we’re never really given the chance to make sense of this. According to the IMDB trivia for the film, the idea started out as 3 separate short films. While the short films do tie together in the end, it does leave the film with a disjointed feeling.
Mary May introduces Leah to a chemist, Davey, who seems to have a mixture for all of life’s problems. As Leah spends more time with them, they reveal what their “mission” is. It’s pretty out there. Unfortunately, the film actually goes downhill from here as we get a deeper look into the cult and the man who leads it.
At Night Comes Wolves is hardly a horror film, and for a film that’s only 77 minutes long, it’s a surprisingly slow-burn. While writer/director TJ Marine had some great ideas for this film, the execution of the ideas leaves a lot to be desired. A lot of the performances fall really flat and feel amateur; the exception to this is the brief appearance of Randy, the park ranger (Joe Bongiovanni), who’s convincing confused performance is possibly the most intriguing thing about At Night Comes Wolves.
At Night Comes Wolves attempts to tackle the subjects of emotional abuse, and misogyny, but unfortunately the fragmented story-telling and the heavy-handed approach to these topics make the film much less interesting than it could be. Anti-misogynist horror and thriller films are becoming all the more popular, and while At Night Comes Wolves is a welcome addition to the mix, it’s doesn’t deliver what the subject matter deserves.
At Night Comes Wolves comes to digital platforms April 20
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