James Jay Edwards reviews At Night Comes Wolves, an American horror thriller film written and directed by Tj Marine. (Gravitas Ventures)
At Night Comes Wolves has some weird grammar issues in its title. The subject of the sentence appears to be “Wolves,” so in its simpler form, it would be “Wolves Comes at Night.” But that brings up a plural vs. singular inconsistency. It seems like it should be either At Night Come Wolves or At Night Comes a Wolf.
It turns out, the weird syntax in the title is the least of the film’s problems.
At Night Comes Wolves is about a woman named Leah (Gabi Alves) who is trapped in an unhappy marriage with a man named Daniel (Jacob Allen Weldy). So, she leaves, and as she is fleeing, she meets a young woman named May May (Sarah Serio). At first, her new friend seems sympathetic to Leah’s problems, but it turns out that May May is, along with a young man named Davey (Vladimir Noel), the last remnants of a doomsday cult. They promise to help Leah make a new life, but first, they want to finish some business with her husband.
(At Night Comes Wolves, theatrical release poster, courtesy Gravitas Ventures)
With his feature film debut, writer/director Tj Marine manages to make a creative little thriller. A good movie needs to be more than creative, though. At Night Comes Wolves has an amateurish, student film-like vibe to it, from the strange pace of the acting and editing to the non-linear timeline. While the story is compelling enough when it’s actually being told, the plotline is a jumbled mess. Sure, there are title cards to let the audience know exactly where they are in the big picture, but they all but abandon the viewer when it comes to letting them know how it all fits together.
As a horror film, At Night Comes Wolves is lackluster. Aside from not having any real scares, or even any disturbing moments, there is just very little threat to it. The cult doesn’t feel dangerous. Leah’s husband, Daniel, is an a-hole, but he’s more neglectful than abusive. His attitude is angering, not frightening. And that pretty much sums up the whole movie.
(At Night Comes Wolves, courtesy Gravitas Ventures)
At Night Comes Wolves isn’t all bad. It does have a haunting—if simplistic—score by composer Keaton Landis (who has also scored short films called Of Wolves and Lambs and Wolf Game, so there seems to be a theme to his resume). The music is moody and atmospheric, noticeable enough to be acknowledged as the strongest aspect of the film while never really distracting from the rest of it.
Another thing that At Night Comes Wolves has going for it is its running time. It clocks in at a brisk and breezy 77 minutes, so, even as a confusing train wreck, the movie doesn’t overstay its welcome. It’s never boring. It does have that going for it. Or does it “got” that going for it?
Check out the podcast Eye On Horror for more with James Jay Edwards, and also features Jonathan Correia and Jacob Davison.