Against the Night Review

Review: Against the Night

Score: C-

Director: Brian Cavallaro

Cast: Frank Whaley, Hannah Kleeman, Tim Torre, Luke Persiani

Running Time: 85 Minutes

Rated: NR

Stop me if you've heard this one before: A group of sexy young people go into a haunted building on a dare, they joke about finding something in there, hear some noises, then they start actually getting picked off one by one.

Against the Night hits every single beat you expect, and a couple of ugly notes I didn't. Hank (Luke Persiani) convinces all the friends at a housewarming party hosted by Rachel (Hannah Kleeman) to go help him stage a fake ghost-hunting documentary at an abandoned prison in town. (This is after he's surreptitiously filmed two partygoers having sex, and then showed that footage to everyone. Classy guy.)

Thus, they all set out, armed with GoPros, night-vision cameras and digital room thermometers. They idiotically split up, find themselves trapped in different areas of the prison, and then the body count starts rising. Even though we've seen this a million times, Against the Night is still somewhat engaging, even if the characters are poorly defined and some of them deserve to get bumped off by Whatever That Thing Is.

If this movie had done anything slightly original with its premise, it wouldn't be a waste of time. But its only distinguishing characteristic is its demeaning attitudes toward women. Nearly every woman's body is objectified, with the women laughing off the comments. Two characters make out solely to give Hank "something to watch later on." The movie likes to think this is all just naughty fun, but it's actually pretty gross.

If you're looking for a spooky movie to watch this Halloween about sexy young people and/or haunted buildings, luckily there are dozens of others to choose from, and most of them won't leave you feeling like you're surrounded by douchebags.

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About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.

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