By Elektra Macdonald
The Vast of Night (2019)
Sci-Fi/Thriller | 1hr 31mins | M
Director: Andrew Patterson
Stars: Sierra McCormick, Jake Horowitz, Gail Cronauer,
On a night somewhere in 1950’s small town USA, whilst most of the town is preoccupied with a basketball game, a young telephone switchboard operator, Fay (McCormick), records a strange noise interfering with the switchboard. Passing this
recording on to popular local radio DJ Everett (Horowitz), they air the sound and invite people to call in with information. The mystery starts to deepen as the pair race to try and uncover what is going on when more people start to report unexplained sightings. Is it military? Is it extra-terrestrial? Do we care?
After reading the glowing reviews of this film I had high expectations. Folks were talking about the director, the creativity, the originality, the low budget, the twist, the spin on an old subject. After watching it I felt like the folk who think that “they” are spraying chemicals into the atmosphere to make us all stupid might be onto something. Seemingly correlated with people who like Ad Astra, it has something in common with that movie: a story that is utterly stupid; almost incomprehensibly obviously so. Aliens! Strange noises! A side-story that bears no relation to the plot! Characters with no arcs! But mostly a stupidly stupid story of nothingness that goes nowhere. Not bad enough to be enjoyable, more like a bread and butter sandwich with stale bread and no butter.
The most enjoyable aspect of the movie (apart from it ending) is the strange head-twisting sensation when reading the positive reviews. Like trying to get those mirror neurons of yours to fire when listening to a Trump supporter. Ad Astra, though, is even worse in this regard, a movie that has the hero batting moonlets out of the way to get to his spaceship after fending off rabid space monkeys (and was watching Brad Pitt being dull such an exciting change?). The Vast of Night can’t quite match the spectacle of that idiocy. For that reason, I can’t quite bring myself to give it 1/10; that has to be reserved for Ad Astra. 2/10.