Based on a True Story, Rachel and Josh Pena (Jennifer Nangle and Garret Lee) attend an engagement party when the night unexpectedly turns into a nightmare.
THAT NIGHT is a short film (directed by Jospeh R. Davis and Brian Gerson), clocking in at just under 27 minutes, and it wastes no time setting the mood: with sparse, haunting piano music, and the obvious rift between protagonists Rachel and Josh, we start on an ominous note and things go quickly from bad to worse. The filmmakers create an atmosphere wrought with palpable tension that builds to a nightmarish crescendo. This isn’t a movie that relies on gore or even overly explicit violence to deliver the thrills; the horror is in the unfolding of the events, not necessarily the events themselves.
This is a very suspenseful thriller, following in the footsteps of genre classics like Funny Games and The Strangers. I found it to be quite an engaging movie and spent most of the run time tense as all hell. It plays on anxieties that are familiar to many of us, especially social anxiety. Going to a party where you don’t know anyone can be nerve-wracking (especially when the hosts of the party seem slightly off-kilter as they do here). Many of us that deal with this kind of anxiety stoke ourselves up, asking the question: “What’s the worst that can happen?” This film provides a grisly answer.
Tapping into the real-world fears of the audience is effective because all of the violence in this movie is so random. There’s no discernible reason for any of it, which is the most terrifying aspect: it’s a reflection of real life. Awful shit happens to regular, everyday folks like you and me all the time and there is no sufficient answer when we ask: “Why?” When we give our on-screen killers and monsters motives, they instantly become mundane, no longer scary, something we can deal with. The villains here, Scott and Erika (Raymond Vinsik Williams and Amanda Cano), are people that look like us, could very well live right next door to us, and they do what they do simply because they can: that’s what makes this movie so unnerving.
I thought this was a very clever, enjoyable flick. I find it refreshing when indie movie makers come up with something unique. The cast was terrific and Raymond Vinsik Williams was especially memorable in his performance of the psychotic Scott. I think it’s a tip of the hat to both the cast and crew when I say that disturbing, uneasy feeling stuck with me for a while after watching this movie. I hope everyone gives THAT NIGHT a watch when it’s released.
THAT NIGHT will be released on January 31, 2019.