Without pretentious and overstated characters who annoy as well as inadvertently diverge your attention off the storyline, “Gone in the Night” has a few plot twists that would have helped it become something to watch. That’s if there’s nothing else on, of course.
Overall, this is one of the most poorly written scripts and most predictable films I’ve seen in a long time. Its genres are mystery and thriller but felt more like a bad 80s horror flick to me. I expected cast members Winona Ryder (Kath), Dermot Mulroney (Nicholas) and John Gallagher Jr. (Max) to give much more, but the script didn’t necessarily allow them the leeway to showcase their talents.
If I had to pick one, Mulroney did more with his character, a middle-aged man who finds himself in need of something he can’t get without help from an outside source.
Kath and her much younger boyfriend, Max, rent a cabin for the weekend. When they arrive, they find Al (Owen Teague) and Greta (Brianne Tju), who are even younger than Max, already there. Discord. Discord. Discord. They decide they all fit and that Kath and Max will stay overnight and leave in the morning.
The music and tension build, preparing you for an outcome that doesn’t ever come. In real life, Winona has done everything to look younger than her years. It’ll surprise you that she has taken a part that has her dress as if she’s in her eighties. Except for the fact that Kath can be a bit stuffy, the clothing doesn’t make sense with the role. It only fits if you want to believe that someone at the age of fifty is ancient and needs to do whatever it takes to look and stay young. Since the character of Kath had to feel bad about herself, director Eli Horowitz has her act prudish about playing a game called ‘Pillow Talkers.’ It whispers of sexual acts and revelation and everyone else, including her boyfriend, plays, having a good time. Of course, the old maid has to turn in instead of having fun. When Kath wakes the following day, Max isn’t in bed. In fact, he’s nowhere around. When she goes to find him, she finds a weeping Al. He tells her that the contentious and unlikable Greta ran off with the friendly and dunderheaded Max. Does that make sense? No, but Greta was flirting with Max during the game, so this isn’t too much of a shock.
At this point, you’re staying for the mystery of what happened to Max. Most of the dialogue, acting and Ryder’s facial expressions are bothersome. Luckily, Nicholas shows up just before you are about to leap. He and Kath have some sexual tension even though he’s about to help her find her missing lover and his new woman, but it helps. Much of the story is told through the use of flashbacks which can irritate a little, but it’s done well enough that you keep up. The amateur sleuth investigates, and we chomp at the bit. Well, we’re given pieces of information, so we’re supposed to.
I would have rated “Gone in the Night” more favorably because the movie does get creepy, but I just couldn’t. If the script had more elements of surprise, it could have been a better thriller. If it hadn’t looked so rough and ineffectual and had the characters been introduced so that you could have felt something for them, the film would have earned a greater score from this critic.
Gone In The Night
Directed by: Eli Horowitz
Written by: Matthew Derby and Eli Horowitz
Starring: Winona Ryder, John Gallagher Jr., Owen Teague, Brianne Tju, and Dermot Mulroney will be available on PVOD starting August 2nd.
Run Time: 90 minutes
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Distributed by: Vertical Entertainment