A provocative independent film, worthy of parents and teens alike, Richard Zelniker’s gritty High School thriller, AS NIGHT COMES is remarkably timely and relevant to the world we live in today while also paying homage to such classics as Clockwork Orange and The Outsiders.
Avoiding clichés and filled with a weighty truth, the story is seen through the eyes of angst-filled teenagers struggling to find their identities and place in teen culture, As Night Comes is a powerful, eye-opening, beautifully structured tapestry of images that will hopefully begin a much needed conversation.
Featuring a talented ensemble cast of “ones to watch” including Luke Baines (The Ever After), Myko Olivier (Castle), Evanne Friedmann (iCarly), Stacia Hitt (Neighbors) and Jesse Kove (Bunyan), As Night Comes follows troubled new kid, Sean Holloway, who falls in with a group of teenage outcasts called ‘The Misfits’ and under the wing of its dysfunctional yet charismatic leader, Ricky. On the eve of Halloween, Ricky’s anarchist plan for revenge spirals out of control, culminating in brutal violence, and ultimately Sean’s fight for survival and freedom.
Tackling important issues ranging from peer pressure to bullying to domestic abuse, As Night Comes does not rely on horrific violence and external terror as so many films do, but rather captures the audience’s attention immediately through striking performances and realistic dialogue, never letting go of the viewer.
Directed by Richard Zelniker, his intention to illicit raw, deep and honest emotion works, creating almost a documentary experience that hits you with its stark and brutal truth and successfully draws you deep into the world of the characters inner turmoil and brutal conflict. It is not your average teen film, there is a rawness that is reflective of the real world. There is at least one, if not many, moments throughout the film that evokes an emotion, a memory, a pain, that is uniquely personal to the viewer watching.
Luke Baines is particularly mesmerizing as the baddest of boys, Ricky. His characterization of a mentally disturbed drug-addled lost and angry soul, lashing out against authority and those that do not follow his lead, keeps you eerily glued to the screen even when you want to look away.
Stand out performances, though there are many throughout the film, also include stars Myko Olivier as Sean, who’s good looking “odd man out” breaks the norm of the awkward-looking outcast and former 2010 Tournament of Roses’ Rose Queen Evanne Friedmann as Sarah, the good-girl love interest of a struggling Sean.
Another stand-out in the film? The exceptional production design, lighting and camera work which creatively blend to fill the screen with images that are simultaneously fascinating, haunting, beautiful, repellent and symbolic.
As Night Comes also features a captivating soundtrack from Teenage Atari Riot that keeps you thoroughly engaged throughout the movie.
Zelniker’s, As Night Comes, begins its week-long Los Angeles theatrical release at Laemmle’s Music Hall in Beverly Hills on Friday November 14, 2014. Following its theatrical run, As Night Comes will be available via VOD on December 5, 2014.
My recommendation, don’t miss it.