While the first teaser trailer for “Krisha” filmmaker Trey Edward Shults’ highly anticipated upcoming horror feature, “It Comes at Night,” played up atmosphere over plot (like any good teaser), the film’s newest full-length trailer piles on the plot details, but that doesn’t keep it from being any less intriguing.
The film stars Joel Edgerton as patriarch Paul, who has sequestered his family (including his wife, played by Carmen Ejogo, and their teen son, played by rising star Kelvin Harrison Jr.) in a secluded country house after something terrible has decimated modern civilization. When another young family (including Christopher Abbott and Riley Keough) arrives on their property, Paul makes the choice to keep them around, because what could possibly go wrong with adding more terrified people into an already on-edge situation?
As the film’s trailer tells us, “fear turns men into monsters,” but we’re still wondering about the hows and whys. And what exactly is that eponymous “it”? Below, we detail five of the best bits from the trailer, including some surprising reveals from the teaser and some ideas as to what it all means for Shults’ next entry into the wild world of family dynamics (and the occasional apocalyptic plague).
1. Christopher Abbott in Peril
The first teaser for the feature included a striking look at a bruised and bloodied man chained up in the middle of the woods, a foreboding as hell hood tossed over his head. The new trailer opens with that same image, but quickly unmasks the victim: It’s Christopher Abbott’s Will, and he’s clearly been placed there by an amped up Paul (Edgerton). But it doesn’t seem as if Paul has necessarily bound up Will because he’s specifically afraid of him, he’s more desperate to get information out of the interloper. Like, oh, what the hell is in the woods? Unmasking Will — and taking the wind out of the sails of one of the teaser’s most intriguing images — makes it clear that the real horror is going to be whatever plays out between these two patriarchs.
2. The Meaning of the Red Door
“The red door, it’s the only way in and out the house, and it stays closed and locked all the time,” Paul explains to the group, shedding some serious light on the central image from the teaser and the film’s poster. But what’s most intriguing about the possibilities of the door unfold later, when Paul makes it clear that he has the only set of keys to it, a tense message on its own, but one thrown into startling relief when that damn door seems to open up all on its own. That mystery — who opened the door — frames up much of the action of both the teaser and the trailer, and it’s one that’s literally busted wide open when someone (or something?) smashes it open in the trailer’s final moments.
3. Day Versus Night
In the annals of really solid, definitely workable horror film advice, “We never go out at night” ranks pretty high, and seems like an obvious rule in a film literally titled “It Comes at Night.” Paul’s authoritarianism appears to be one of the few things keeping his family from total destruction (and it doesn’t even always work), so yeah, we’ll go in for a “daylight hours trekking only” rule. But even the bright light of day can’t stave off a litany of terrors, and the tensions stays high even when Paul, Will and Travis venture out in a safety-first pack. What’s going to happen when night falls? (Spoiler: A tremendous amount of bad stuff.)
4. A Closer Look at the Illness
Paul’s biggest fear is that his carefully ensconced family will be threatened by ill outsiders — at least, that’s his fear at the start of the film, as it sure seems as if that terror will twist itself into unexpected shapes as the feature winds on — which makes his decision to shelter Will, Kim and their kid all the more destined for disaster. While it’s unclear if this shot of Will and Kim getting goopy, bloody black ooze all over each other is part of one of the film’s reported dream sequences, it does let on that the threat of sickness is always apparent, and possibly more virulent than you can imagine.
5. Other Big, Bloody Players
Okay, who let this guy in? In a blink-and-you’ll-miss him pop, another character shows up during the trailer’s final moments, all black plague ooze and bloodied body. Is this someone we already know? Or someone we’ve yet to meet? Maybe that whole thing about not letting outsiders in and only trusting the family was the best course of action — or maybe that red door isn’t the foolproof security mechanism they think it is.
Watch both the film’s first teaser and full-length trailer below.
“It Comes at Night” opens on June 9.