The Vast of Night
By James Davidson
“The Vast of Night” is a Science-Fiction, Thriller that was released in May of this year on the Amazon Video streaming service. It is free to stream for anyone with an Amazon Prime subscription. Based in the Americana of the 1950’s in a small town in New Mexico, the film follows a young switchboard operator, Fay Crocker (played by Sierra McCormick) and her radio disc jockey friend Everett “The Maverick” Sloan (Jake Horowitz) as they investigate a mysterious sound coming through their audio frequencies. The sound, coupled with several reports of something strange appearing in the sky over their town, lead the two young adventurers on a thrilling trek that could change their small town forever.
I am a huge fan of classic science fiction movies and literature, and this movie definitely has that classic Science-Fiction vibe. It’s set in a small town in the 50’s and alludes to alien abductions and mind control. It seemed right up my alley and I was pretty excited to watch it and possibly discover a new classic with a modern twist.
The film starts out playing heavily into the classic Sci-Fi feel by playing most of the cutscenes in black and white on an old 50’s style television set. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that at first, but it grew on me and really drew me into the 50’s era atmosphere that the movie creates. The cinematography is fantastic and there are several long, impressive tracking shots that were really fun and interesting to watch. There aren’t many cut scenes and even someone who isn’t familiar with camera work and cinematography can appreciate some of the camera shots and lighting that really add an air of eerriness and unease to some of the scenes.
I was very impressed with the writing style of this story. As is the case with most classic style Sci-Fi, it alludes to the presence of extraterrestrial beings and occurrences and lets the viewer draw their own conclusions instead of spelling everything out for you, which I really enjoyed. It can be a bit frustrating at times, because it seems like the movie doesn’t give any clear, straightforward answers, but I enjoyed the mystery and wonder that it adds to the story. A lot of the time, the movie leaves you wondering if some of the characters are indeed crazy, or if there is really something unearthly happening to this small town. I like being challenged to draw my own conclusions and create some of my own narrative to the story. It adds a bit of ambiguity to the story and kept me guessing to the very end what was really going on in this small town.
The one drawback to this film, is that there is not a lot of action at all. There are a lot of scenes that are exclusively exposition and it can get a bit tedious at times. While it can get dull in a few places, the exposition is still very engaging and crucial to the story and I didn’t find myself getting bored at all, but some people might find it a bit boring in places. The film is paced very quickly however and even though there is a lot of exposition it does drive the story forward and doesn’t seem to drag out at all. The movie is only an hour and a half long and seems to be the perfect length for this style of film.
This movie is rated PG-13 for brief strong language, but other than that there is nothing offensive. If you don’t mind a little language, this movie is great for all but the youngest Science-Fiction fans.
“The Vast of Night” is a great tribute to classic Sci-Fi works such as “War of the Worlds”, and “The Day the Earth Stood Still”. I would recommend this film to anyone who likes Science-Fiction, or to those that want to learn more about the genre. It has an engaging, mysterious story that allows one to draw their own conclusions, and although it has a lot of exposition and not a ton of action, is well paced and will have you wondering what will happen next. I will definitely be watching this movie again, and if you like this movie, it will open you up to an entire new world of fantastic Science-Fiction. It earns 4 out of 5 stars.