Gone in the Night (2022) Review: An Underwhelming Thriller Film Without Many Thrills
Gone in the Night (2022) Review: Kath and Max are on a retreat, away from the hustle of urban life. They have planned to spend a night in a rental cabin out in the woods in the company of all things nature, away from the noise. To their surprise, they are met with another heterosexual couple occupying the space. However, Max somehow convinces the couple to allow him and his partner to stay for the night. Kath is reluctant and Max’s overwhelming compromises come out to be idiosyncratic. But what really is the scope of denial when all you have are woods for 100 miles in all directions? The night is colored red with many elements that do not fall within the scope of safe conventionalities. Kath chooses to retire early, seemingly uncomfortable at her partner’s exploits only to find out that her partner has disappeared with the women of the other couple. Is this a case of abandonment driven by lust, or there is something hidden beneath the carpet?
Gone in the Night is a partial thriller film built on a single mysterious element. I do not term this film a slow burn because even though the disentanglement of different mysterious events is its eventual goal, it often treads into the zone of a drama film the events of which are an elaborate display of the immediate past of characters for their development. They are more about how the mysterious element in the film originated than the mystery itself until the final sequence. The film serves different timelines at once so that you know the causal relationships between different events. Kath is driven by the need to have closure. She needs to ensure if Max abandoned her. And so in her quest, she is joined by the cabin’s owner Nicholas.
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Gone in the Night is essentially about age. Age is a variable that influences almost all our states in life, determining what we can experience and to what capacity. Age births roles, requirements, expectations, and crises. It makes you aware of its occurrence every passing moment. And it also gets registered in others by default. Kath and Max belong to different age groups and that is the major source of conflict between them due to the gap in their instincts, enthusiasm, and aspirations. Age is also a source of fear, which drives the central conflict of the film.
The film is economically edited to prevent a liberal disclosure of information or expositions. It holds back information and releases it in the right moments until the film reaches its climax. But honestly, is the payoff worth it? I am afraid not.
As an audience, you invest your will, time, and resources into a film. And film promises you the preservation and enhancement of your dignity as an audience. Gone in the Night is an outcome of a bizarre plot, the reasoning for which is verbalized outrageously. It fails to evoke any emotion in particular, especially fear. There is a window to feel anxiety along with the thrill but the window is closed due to the idiocy of the characters.
You will be surprised to witness how Gone in the Night resolves itself. Every single element of the screenplay is felt to be rushed so that some action can ensue, and some fear in our hearts can be secured. But the stakes never really get so high for us to anticipate the worst and sweat on it. When they appear to be high, all sequences occur harmoniously with a degree of artifice so that what is intended can be reached. The action becomes dumb and slow, and the threat is diluted before it changes its shape. What happens finally would be on the viewers to find out.
Winona Ryder gives her best effort in performing a limited character. It is not the fault of the actors but a lot of characters are given uninteresting dialogues that add no appeal to the film. But when it comes to performances, Brianne Tju acts with a caricaturish sense of self-confidence that irritates more than entertainment. Perhaps nothing else is worth mentioning.
No association is formed with the characters and therefore, we wouldn’t really care what would happen to them. The atmosphere of Gone in the Night remains dull throughout and barring some amount of creepiness built into the screenplay, there is not much to get scared of either. Most certainly, Gone in the Night is not a horror film.
Gone in the Night can be watched with managed expectations, for a rewarding experience cannot be guaranteed.