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Robin's Movie Review: Vast Of Night

With a nod to the old Twilight Zone series, a new movie called The Vast of
Night takes viewers back to the nineteen-fifties through a television screen
leading to Paradox Theater and a set of strange events. 

Appropriately enough
for the Twilight Zone's Fifties era, The Vast of Night got a brief big
screen roll out at drive- ins throughout the country before heading to Amazon
Prime for its bigger, Covid-19 stay-at-home audience. Strange times,
but that suits The Vast of Night, which hit the radar after breaking out at
one of the smallest festivals in the circuit, Slamdance.  Running
congruently in the same location as Sundance, Slamdance celebrates movies
that others ignore in their hunt for famous faces and prestige projects.
With a miniscule budget, no stars, and practical production values, The Vast
of Night relies instead on elements often missing from many blockbusters: an
intelligent script with witty dialogue, unselfconscious acting, and smooth,
creative camera work. Andrew Patterson puts it all together with far more
skill than expected from a first-time director. He stands out with his
constantly moving camera, which sweeps through a small-town setting to cover
diverse characters and places in a short time. Without cutting, he moves
through windows and doors, getting from one scene to the next while
revealing useful information. The details reveal a plot with familiar
elements as a strange noise infuses an area and leads to close encounters of
the low budget kind. Yet less expensive elements override the needs for
elaborate special effects. An existing town that never lost its Fifties look
and simple costumes bring in appropriate atmosphere, while Patterson's
visual style adds enticing flair. Add other like good dialogue and actors
who speak it well, and The Vast of Night works like a ray of light in the
dark world of sci-fi retreads. 

Robin Holabird reviews movies for KUNR, and her reviews have aired for more than 30 years. During that time, she has had a high profile in the Nevada film community.
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