Review: New VOD Horror Movie 'Against the Night'

There is a certain level of schlock you find over and over again if you dive deep enough into the indie horror movie scene. I, personally, am a fan of this campy, scuzzy, neo-grindhouse genre. I watch new horror movies like this as soon as they’re released. I’ve been to conventions celebrating it. Hell, I’ve even made short films in this style myself. So I get pretty excited when I get to see a new take on the same old clich├ęs we fans love so dear. The new horror movie Against the Night raises these tropes up yet again, having a blast playing around in the sandbox of deep-genre, straight-faced goofiness.

The film begins with a bunch of 20-somethings having a Cloverfield-style “we’re young and will totally never die” party. They’re being recorded by one friend who’s the “I film everything and goof around about it” horror character architype. I suppose these characters have names and identities, but honestly they don’t really matter. And the movie knows that too. There’s a big enough group of young people that they can all break off into groups when things get spooky, and that’s all that matters. The videographer friend suggests breaking into an abandoned (and supposedly haunted) prison to film a fake ghost hunting video. They arrive, and immediately split up in Scooby-Doo fashion to go explore in pairs. One by one, they mysteriously disappear.

It’s half found footage, half conventional narrative filmmaking, and all 100% cheese.

If this type of thing sounds tired and overdone, that’s because it is, and this movie doesn’t care. If you’re already part of the fan base for this sort of film, then you probably already know that Against the Night is right up your alley. For everyone else expecting a critical analysis of a movie like this, you’re kinda coming at it from the wrong angle.

Low budget horror like this doesn’t really lend itself to conventional film criticism. This is a well shot movie, and it’s fun, and a good use of the genre, but it isn’t necessarily a “good” film. In fact, it absolutely isn’t. It is a mess. Its plot has been seen a thousand times. The characters are indistinguishable. Every female character takes their top off for seemingly no reason. Its plot twists are absurd as all hell. I could go on and on nitpicking the things that normal movies wouldn’t do, but that’s the thing: this isn’t a normal movie. This is a low budget, schlocky, VOD horror movie. When you get that deep into the genre, these types of things are to be expected, and, in a way, celebrated.

 Against the Night is such polished nonsense. It looks good. The acting is well done. The effects are almost impressive. It’s just that the plot and dialogue and everything else about it are cheesy as can be. As the genre nerd that I am, I enjoyed it because of all those issues, not in spite of them. Again, it’s not for everybody, but there’s a strong base of horror nerds out there who eat this type of genre stuff up, and they’ll really enjoy this fun little mess of a movie.

Rating: 3 out of 5