Matt Rosenblatt’s Movie Night about a date gone sour holds the suspense heavy throughout the narrative, frequently shifting perspective so that you don’t know which way to look.
With its cold open, the film illustrates right away that Chris (Skeeta Jenkins) and Rachel (Natali Jones) have not had the most pleasant time with each other. Chris convinces an eager to leave Rachel to stay for a movie, and though she agrees, it changes nothing. Rachel is displeased and Chris is nervous. Carson Bailie’s cinematography and editing paces the narrative with moments of fright, while steadily building an atmosphere of uneasiness. Although the pace is not quite free flowing, it does an excellent job of keeping the audience on the edge of their seats. With no other character known to us, and something explicitly bad yet to happen, the two characters start to look equally suspicious.
When the film Chris has chosen, Night Of The Living Dead, begins to be interrupted by footage of a different couple having their own date night, the guilty one is suddenly almost certainly Chris. And yet, nothing has actually happened. The complete lack of non-diegetic sound plays well into the mounting sense of dread, removing any markers for the audience with which to remember that this is merely a story.
To some, the final reveal may be lacklustre, or just the right kind of silent horror with which to conclude a story that has more to do with making its audience (and characters) nervous, than outright slasher horror. Admirably, the narrative shifts perspective to now follow the antagonist, creating an acutely disquieting thought: this was inevitable, and this was regular.
Watch Matt Rosenblatt’s Movie Night and discover the horrors of a couple whose date night goes far worse than anticipated!
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