Mystery/Thriller | Vertical Entertainment | Runtime: 90m | Rated: R
Directed By: Eli Horowitz
Starring: Winona Ryder, John Gallagher Jr., Dermot Mulroney, Brianne Tju, Owen Teague
Synopsis: When Kath and Max show up to a remote cabin in the woods for a quiet getaway they arrive to find another mysterious young couple already there. With the cabin double booked the strangers make the best of the night, but when Max is missing the next morning Kath is obsessed with finding him.
Eli Horowitz sets up Gone in the Night nicely with a tight first act. We meet our couple, Kath (Winona Ryder) and Max (John Gallagher Jr.). There’s a modest age difference between them but they’re your normal couple hitting the woods for some private time. We can all imagine what would happen if we arrived at a cabin after hours of driving in the forest only to find another couple already there. It’s a presumably awkward and potentially tension filled scenario that can easily capture your imagination to get you invested in where this story will go.
This younger couple Greta (Brianne Tju) and Al (Owen Teague) come off as your typical twenty-somethings but there’s an element of mystery about them you can’t quite put your finger on. They aren’t completely welcoming but not dismissive either. And this early cat-and-mouse conversation when they all decide to share the cabin for a night does craft naturally uneasy moments that do fit the mood and atmosphere very well. This movie had my curiosity piqued very quickly and when Kath wakes up to find Max gone you can easily put yourself in the helplessness of her situation. So, for that aspect I really enjoyed the engagement it provided as the plot weaves through its path with appealing moments of unpredictability littered in.
The script drops in small fragments of information as Kath is determined to mind out what happened to her boyfriend. Did he simply get bored of her and run off with a younger girl? Did he have an accident? Did something more sinister take place? All of these are interesting questions pondered while watching as the story drops in flashbacks to build the foundation to Kath and Max’s relationship and their dynamics. As well as teasing glimpses into Max’s personality to learn more about who he is. All intriguing stuff that gives the movie a quick pace while also serving as the building blocks. Where other scripts could lean into more direct exposition. Gone in the Night keeps you guessing as it evolves and it’s a satisfying watch.
The performances are all more than efficient for their roles. Ryder is fantastic as she always is and it’s nice to see her career getting a bit of a resurgence. I’m always a fan of Gallagher Jr. I think he can play the ‘every-man’ type extremely well but can very easily turn on darker traits to really give a character some layering, and he does that here. Tju and Teague were great as well. Their character types have been done before, but they make the roles their own and Mulroney comes in with Ryder to give the cast another veteran actor to cement it all.
The finale is dramatic without question. It maybe does a bit too much to result in some suspension of disbelief being needed. These movies generally rely on the reveal and Gone in the Night certainly has a good one. But it comes in a tad late and lacks proper explanation. The pace is steady throughout then too much unfolds in only a few minutes. This often happens in these types of films, but it doesn’t get in the way of Gone in the Night locking your curiosity in for 90-minutes to take you on a mysterious ride.
Anthony J. Digioia II © 2022 SilverScreen Analysis. All Rights Reserved.