The Long Night
Dir. Rich Ragsdale (2022)
A couple head to the Deep South to look for the woman’s parents, where they find a cult who is trying to resurrect an ancient demon.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
Warning: I know I put a spoiler tag on every post because I don’t really care much about spoiling the film in the review, but be aware that, if this is a movie that you’re dying to watch, some of what’s below will absolutely be spoilers for the movie. Again, I didn’t mind spoiling it too much because it’s so predictable, but be warned if that’s something that will make you unhappy.
As with seemingly every new movie I watch, the trailer ends up being better than the movie. Scout Taylor-Compton does her best to make the movie better than it is, but unfortunately her best is not all that great. The movie is about a couple (Grace and Jack) who take a quiet weekend in the South, all in an attempt to find the woman’s missing parents. She hasn’t seen them in years and has virtually no memory of her childhood, which sets the stage for an incredibly predictable film that feels like a letdown once all is said and done. It’s derivative, and you’ve seen this movie done better so many times before.
Though the cult members are actually creepy looking.
The good thing about the film is that it is actually creepy in parts; the mask-wearing cultists are pretty scary looking, and their appearances don’t shy away from the camera. There’s no doubt that, once their assault on the couple starts, things are not going to turn out well. They’re after Grace (Taylor-Compton), at one point even telling Jack (Nolan Gerard Funk) that if he gives her to them they will let him go free. We eventually learn that the cult is seeking to resurrect a demon that was originally vanquished by the Native Americans, and that they want this demon to take up residence in Grace herself.
Can we please stop the “White eyes mean possessed” trope? It’s every fucking movie now.
There’s not a whole lot that happens in the movie, and what does is often as confusing as it is relatively boring. The dreamline sequences, where Grace envisions some of the origins of the cult itself, are pretty effective and off-putting, but do little to actually explain what’s going on. Instead, we get a monologue by one of the cult members (who turns out to be Grace’s mother) at the end of the film that does its best to explain why they’re doing what they’re doing and what’s going to happen next. As with a lot of the newer folk-style movies that are being made, there’s no happy ending and this girl actually does become possessed by the demon, but the ending feels rushed and doesn’t create a sense of unease as much as bewilderment.
Also, Funk’s Jack is a fucking asshole. He’s an incredibly unlikable character, especially if you’re from the South (as I am). He is constantly ridiculing the entire part of the country in a way that I’m sure the writers of the film thought was clever and endearing, but let me tell you that it absolutely is not. I’m not one to get offended by people insulting me or my region of the country, but like… is that all that there is to your character? You’re a rich dude who likes looking down on others? He doesn’t learn a lesson in the film, he doesn’t have any redeeming qualities, he’s just… douchebag that’s fodder for the cult? Can we not do better than that in 2022? When is it going to be unacceptable to denigrate an entire region of the country because you’re an elitist piece of shit? Aren’t we at the point, in this day and age, that rich people are as much the enemy as anyone else? I’d digress, but the movie is dull enough that I don’t particularly have anything else to say. It’s more meh than it is terrible, but there are plenty of other movies that are far more worth your time.
Who this movie is for: Fans of particularly dull folk films, Scout stans, People who are definitely not from the South
Bottom line: Dull, dreary, and not particularly exciting, there’s very little to love about this film. It’s not bad, per se, but it’s definitely not good, and there’s not enough present to really put your finger on where the story goes wrong. The ending is rushed, not explained very well, and overly explained where it is. This one you can go without seeing, though Taylor-Compton is very good at walking around drenched in blood and looking quite foreboding. That is one talent she definitely has.