Review: 'At Night Comes Wolves'

By: Heather Seebach

I went into At Night Comes Wolves knowing only two things about it:

1) It is advertised as an "anti-misogyny horror film"

2) The grammatically incorrect title really bothers me

Admittedly, the anti-misogyny promise lured me right in; unfortunately, it never quite sticks that particular landing. It is an ambitious but messy, meandering genre-bender about toxic marriage, doomsday cults, and love in the time of zombies (yes, you read that correctly). 

Leah (Gabi Alves) is a human doormat to her emotionally abusive husband, Daniel (Jacob Allen Weldy). She is ever eager to please her man but nothing she does is good enough for him. When his insults become too much, Leah runs away and soon makes a new friend in Mary May (Sarah Serio). The latter introduces Leah to a prodigal chemist named Davey (Vladimir Noel) who brews up what may be psychedelics and/or poison in the woods. Sounds legit, right? Their little doomsday cult speaks of transcending to a new "phase" of mankind, and a promise to "never feel fear again." There is, however, the small detail of Daniel and his unsavory relationship with Leah's new friends. 

A relationship drama turned cult thriller? I assure you, Ari Aster did not direct this one. The film jumps around the timeline between past and future with completely unnecessary title cards such as "The Past: Origin No 1." As you might guess, there is an ongoing metaphor about wolves but it is too convoluted to take on any real meaning. There are also seemingly pointless subplots, like one involving a park ranger. Then there are the flash-forwards to a post-apocalyptic world where two lovers are dealing with loss after something known cryptically as "The Incident."

In short, the film is all over the map. You might say it feels like three different films tenuously strung together...and you would be right, as that is exactly what it is! Prior to At Night Comes Wolves, director TJ Marine made three short films: one about Leah and Daniel; one about a doomsday cult; and one about post-apocalyptic lovers (all with the exact same characters and respective actors). Had I known that fact going into this feature, I would have been annoyed by the sheer laziness of it. 

Visually, there are vibes of indie horror darlings Benson/Moorhead, or Jeremy Gardner, but the messy writing keeps Wolves from reaching those heights. There are some good, striking shots - I especially dig the post-apocalyptic scenes. The camerawork is very active, almost like a living character in and of itself; this is distracting and pretentious at times, but it also works at other times. I was intrigued by it. Still, my favorite part of the whole film is when a character utters the phrase, "You daft cunt." There is just something real satisfying about that. 

As for the "anti-misogyny horror film" billing, I would love to know how a woman's journey from serving one manipulative man to serving another manipulative man (this time with potions!) counts as a message against misogyny. Any such subtext is lost in the amalgam of genres this film haphazardly throws together. The topic of sexism is frequently broached with all the subtly of a brick, and yet the movie has nothing meaningful to say about it. It is a shame because the film has potential but trying to shoehorn three unrelated tales together into one feature was never a good idea.

out of 5 stars


Gravitas Ventures will release AT NIGHT COMES WOLVES on digital platforms including iTunes, Google Play, Fandango Now and all major cable/satellite platforms on April 20.  

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