'The Vast of Night' Review

'The Vast of Night' Review
An Excellent Mirco-Budget Mystery Thriller

Rating: ★★★★

The 2020 equivalent of Sam Raimi's 1981 horror classic 'The Evil Dead', 'The Vast of Night' is a micro-budget homage of the mystery-thriller serials of the 1950s. Following two radio-obsessed teens, the movie chronicles their discovery of a mysterious frequency that has descended on their town.

Made for under a million, this is a stellar directorial debut from Andrew Patterson. The production design is impressive given that quote-unquote "small number". There are also some one-takes (or simulated one-takes, it hard to distinguish whether they are or are not) that are breathtaking. But while there are multiple positives to be said about how well utilized the low-budget is, the movie does falter slightly at points because of that number. The lighting does rarely become either too dull or overly-bright and the editing can be a bit jumping; rapidly cutting to a different shot. But in the grand scheme of things, those critiques are quite nit-picky.

'The Vast' relies heavily on its screenplay and performances by the two leads working. If those elements were mediocre or worse, this movie would not work. Thankfully for James Montague and Craig Sanger's screenplay and the performances from Sierra McCormick and Jake Horowitz, it does. The dialogue shared between the characters is captivating and interesting. McCormick and Horowitz' performances are engaging and well-acted.
Despite the movie having visually interesting cinematography from M.I. Littin-Menz, it could have easily worked as a podcast, given how the majority of the entire 89-minute runtime revolves around the characters' conversations. Although some may find the way this movie is executed to be boring, those who are willing to sit through an hour and a half of talking and interacts with be pleasantly surprised.

While it can be a bit predictable and does suffer mildly due to its limitations, it is easy to look past those flaws given the expertise on display. Exhibiting great performances, an engaging story, a spooky atmosphere, effective use of music and a spectacular direction, 'The Vast of Night' is a thoroughly entertaining mystery-thriller.