★★★1/2 out of ★★★★★
A strong display of impressive visuals sets this death-cult chiller apart from lesser offerings in the subgenre.
Directed by Rich Ragsdale
Aficionados of death-cult films and imaginatively directed horror outings should find plenty to enjoy with The Long Night. A solid lead performance from Scout Taylor-Compton and some unexpected visual flourishes are two of the highlights of this feature.
Grace (Taylor-Compton) is a young adult woman who grew up in foster homes, having never known her birth parents. She and her boyfriend Jack (Nolan Gerard Funk) leave their comfortable New York City pad and head to a remote area in the South after Grace gets a lead on who her parents might be. City slickers heading to the South never have much success in horror movies, but Grace was raised there and knows about such things as totems.
In a bit of a twist from the norm in fright fare, Jack senses that things are weird in the house where they are staying and insists that they leave immediately, but by then it is already too late, as a group of skull-helmeted creeps show up on the front lawn.
Without giving too much away, this is no band of ordinary rural folk playing devil worshippers. Some black magic is definitely being used.
Director Rich Ragsdale serves up a terrific array of visual details and wonderfully framed shots, though a couple of choices are bound to unintentionally cause a few laughs. His timing for building suspense is impressive, too, keeping this 90-minute chiller running at a nice clip. Some story details are glossed over or taken for granted — for example, tension between Grace and Jack after a visit to his parents that is mentioned but not shown — and seasoned fear-fare fans will likely see where things are headed, but overall, The Long Night plays with the conventions of death-cult movies enough to make it rise above the pack.
Review by Joseph Perry
The Long Night, distributed by Well Go USA Entertainment, will be released in select theaters and available on Digital on February 4, 2022.