One part home invasion thriller, one part demonic horror, The Long Night is very much a mixed bag. Shudder’s latest exclusive movie deals with some genuinely interesting ideas and has a lot going for it in premise, but its execution doesn’t always stick the landing. Let’s take a look at what works and what doesn’t…
We meet a young couple from New York, Grace (Scout Taylor-Compton) and Jack (Nolan Gerard Funk), as they travel down south to stay in an old plantation house where someone has arranged to help Grace discover her past. Growing up in foster care, she has no idea who her birth parents are and wants to find them. And following a tense dinner with Jack’s very upper class parents (who look down on her), she wants to find herself now more than ever.
However, strange things start with Grace finding a snake in a kitchen, and ultimately escalate to a group of black cloaked figures wearing horned skull masks surrounding the house and attempting to break in. Soon they discover that this all has to do with a demonic cult attempting to usher in what they call “the Long Night”.
So Much Potential
Let’s address what this movie does well first. It was shot in an actual centuries-old house in South Carolina surrounded by woods and thus, there’s a really great sense of atmosphere, supplemented by some great visuals. The cinematography and production design are all on point, making it look like a much higher budgeted film than it actually is.
From a purely thematic standpoint, it raises fascinating questions about fate and whether we are bound by the circumstances of our birth. It also popularizes a lesser known demon that the cult worships, and as a fan of demonic horror, it’s always nice to see a film do their research into demonology and not just have everything be about the devil himself.
But it’s because the movie has all this going for it that its biggest flaw stands out that much more. The premise and plot are solid, but the screenwriting itself leaves a lot to be desired. Much of the dialogue is very on the nose, and a lot of it doesn’t even sound like how real people would talk to each other.
The script feels more like a first draft than one that went through several necessary rounds of revisions and the actors are left doing the best they can with what they have. Scout Taylor-Compton plays unhinged very well (look no further than the Rob Zombie Halloween films), but this movie’s script and directing feel like they don’t know how to utilize her frantic energy properly.
The Long Night certainly isn’t a terrible movie, but it would be stretch to call it great. If you’re a diehard Shudder fan who feels the need to consume every weekly new release they put out, go for it. But the more casual fan can probably skip it and not feel like they missed much…
What did you think of The Long Night? Let us know in the comments!