THE VAST OF NIGHT – A Review by John Strange
The Vast of Night is not your usual sci-fi fare. The premise of using a very Twilight Zone-like intro that they call “Paradox Theater” complete with a Rod Serling-esque voice-over to set the stage is very interesting. The film, set in the 1950s, is primarily told from the perspective of its two main characters, Fay Crocker (Sierra McCormick), the town’s night phone switchboard operator, and Everett (Jake Horowitz), the night DJ at WOTW, the local AM radio station.
The filmmakers edited the film to appear to run in nearly normal time. The leads meet up at the local school gymnasium just before the start of the first game of the basketball season. They interact with many friends as they leave the gym, testing out Fay’s new tape recorder before the pair split up to head for their respective night jobs.
Soon the action begins to revolve around a weird sound that Fay hears while receiving calls of “something” in the sky. She becomes a sleuth, soon adding Everett to the search for the truth.
This film begins almost glacially slow as you try to figure out what the heck is going on and just how well do we truly need to know these people. But from one moment unto the next, you suddenly realize that something interesting IS going on, even if you only have a few clues and not one shred of hard evidence.
Gail Cronauer as Mabel Blanche does a scene-stealing job as a grieving mother who fills our sleuths in on the subject of the visits from mysterious others.
This film has many 50s-era touches from antique tape recorders and cameras to some excellent cars and clothing but my favorite touch has to be Fay’s glasses. They lock her into the era, cemented by the great telephone switchboard setup where she works.
The Vast of Night is not fast-paced and does not have you sitting on the edge of your seat but it does present us with a very interesting premise that passes many of my personal tests for plausibility. And the ending, with its touch of modern CGI, leaves us with many questions and quite a few interesting suppositions. And really, that’s exactly how this type of film SHOULD end.
The film, with its minor faults, is still a very good movie and well worth watching, earning itself 4.5-stars from me.
Select Drive-In movie theaters around the country will be hosting special screenings of the film beginning Friday, May 15 including Galaxy Drive-In Theatre in Ennis, TX (30 minutes south of Dallas) before it heads to Amazon Prime Video on May 29th
Directed by: Andrew Patterson
Cast: Sierra McCormick, Jake Horowitz, Gail Cronauer, Bruce Davis
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for brief strong language)
Selig Rating: 4.5 Stars
Runtime: 89 Min.
The Selig Rating Scale:
5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
4 Stars – Good movie
3 Stars – OK movie
2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.