The Long Night is the newest Shudder exclusive to hopefully give you a spooky night in cuddled up on the couch. When New York couple Grace and Jack set off for the deep south in the hopes to find some information on Grace’s lost parents, their quick trip turns into a nightmare thanks to a sadistic occult and an ancient prophecy. Unfortunately, some beautiful scenery and a creepy premise aren’t enough to help you get through this long night.
The Long Night tells the story of a young woman Grace (Scout Taylor-Compton), who has spent the majority of her young life trying to find her real parents. After several failed attempts and half breaks that lead to dead ends, a chance call from an investigator brings new hope as they claim to have a significant lead on her parents. Grace and her boyfriend Jack (Nolan Gerard Funk) hit the road leaving New York and heading towards the US Deep South to the investigator’s isolated plantation home. They arrive to find this beautiful house nestled in the woods, but the owner is nowhere to be found. Letting themselves in to wait for them seems like a good idea at first, but straight away, strange things begin to happen. Snakes show up everywhere, the phone reception drops out, and once night falls, all hell is set to break loose.
Sounds like a promising and solid story with a good setup and a decent sense of mystery surrounding the characters. Unfortunately, this all happens early on in the film, and we start to go downhill from there. The Long Night wants to create a sense of fear and tension. The score does its best to help build on dread and a sense of what’s coming, but poor execution and an expected direction leave me wanting more. We bounce from one horror cliché to another, and while this can work with very little deviation from what we expect, the problem here is there is no sense of a creative direction to offset what we saw very early on as an expected outcome.
The one shining light is Taylor-Compton, whose portrayal of Grace is not only likable but shows off some of the work she has been doing previously as she turns into a bit of a scream queen. Grace is a likeable character that I found myself rooting for. Jack, on the other hand, while playing well as the silver spoon feed daddy’s boy by Funk, I was rooting for something to go wrong for him. Another to point out is the limited inclusion of one Jeff Fahey. Fahey is one of those actors that can turn up in a movie and play a memorable character and play them well. Yet his introduction as Wayne early on is enough to give you a prediction of what to expect. No tension, no build-up, just to be left pondering why that just happened.
I went into The Long Night expecting a tense, dark and mysterious occult-themed time to tingle the hairs on the back of my neck. While my thoughts are somewhat harsh you need to go into this one with managed expectations. Some beautiful cinematography and a score worthy of the horror genre, forgettable characters and an overused formula leave you wanting more. If you have ever seen a horror movie, you’ve already seen this one.
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