Night Sky Review: Frightfest 2022 – SciFiNow

Near the tip of Night Sky, somebody will menacingly promise protagonist Oren (AJ Bowen) “a long excruciating couple of agonisingly painful hours while you – you helplessly wait to bleed out,” including,  “a sensation with which I think you’re pretty familiar.”

Indeed, after we first meet Oren within the movie’s opening scene, half-heartedly hiding his flashy crimson convertible behind a business wheelie bin in a darkish alleyway earlier than collapsing on a warehouse storage flooring, he’s already going through his human, mortal situation and bleeding out from a gunshot wound to the intestine. Even as Oren is aware of it’s too late for him, a girl in a hoodie (Brea Grant) seems out of the shadows and, standing over him, says: “I can fix you. What would that be worth to you?” When he wakes the subsequent morning, shocked to have woken once more in any respect, Oren’s wound has impossibly – if not fairly completely – sealed and healed, however he additionally discovers that he has entered a cope with the girl, named Annie. For she, like Oren, is on the run, and so long as he’s on the transfer, she wish to hitch a experience with him. Ideally, to New Mexico, with a extra exact vacation spot to be decided en route.

This newest from director Jacob Gentry, right here reuniting – and co-writing – with Bowen after their earlier collaboration on The Signal (2007), will transform a highway film, as this odd couple drive in varied autos on a quick if meandering journey from LA to Palm Springs (the place Jacob’s brother Clay lives) to Zion Canyon in Utah and at last to Pueblo Bonito in New Mexico, and progressively get to know one another, even be taught to like each other, alongside the best way. Meanwhile, a well-dressed sociopath (Scott Poythress, additionally from The Signal and Gentry’s 2004 debut Last Goodbye) is relentlessly on the tail of 1 or different of them, and leaving a path of our bodies in his personal wake.

Even as Oren and Annie’s journey – with the diabolical stranger in pursuit – is bounded by the gravel and mud and sand of the highway and of the fabric world, it additionally comes, because the movie’s very title implies, with a extra cosmic dimension. For these three will ultimately meet on the horizon, their paths intersecting for a grander spectacle that unfolds at an historic website of worship. And whereas it has usually been left to faith(s) to light up and expound our relationship with the Other, right here different narrative frames are provided for this non secular odyssey. Much as the great guide that these characters carry together with them will not be the Torah, the Holy Bible, or the Koran, however Charles Morrow Wilson’s Stars is God’s Lanterns: An providing of Ozark Tellin’s Stories (1969), the style by which they journey is much less Gospel or Revelations than the science fiction of Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), John Sayles’ The Brother From Another Planet (1984), Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin (2013) and particularly John Carpenter’s Starman (1984) – solely with a Starwoman.

There continues to be theological allegory to be present in all these celestial encounters, as Annie along with her miraculous powers of therapeutic and her direct hyperlink to the heavens, and Oren together with his pierced aspect and his rising capability for self-sacrifice, each vie to be the movie’s Jesus determine, whereas their sadistic, silver-tongued pursuer is an an apparent candidate for Satan. [spoiler alert] Perhaps that is partly as a result of, as this trinity of characters is manœuvred into place for a drama abruptly mysterious, ethereal and transcendent, we could, in any case, be witnessing not merely an alien mild present, however the final, ever conflicting anxiousness and awe of a person painfully bleeding out on the bottom  (possibly even nonetheless on the storage flooring from the opening) and ever so slowly discovering his approach, with eyes upraised, to God. 

For even when Oren could also be, precisely as he was within the movie’s starting, mortally wounded and nonetheless mendacity, to paraphrase Oscar Wilde, within the gutter, part of him is wanting on the stars, and it’s this heavenly gaze, to one thing past the corporeal, appetitive self, that’s what elevates each Oren’s shabby ‘final scene’, and certainly Night Sky itself, closing the movie’s terminal circle with a second of real sublimity. Here, the very technique of dying is a visit, and an angelic ascent, leaving a way not simply of an ending, however of one thing on the market past our worldly expertise.  Or at the very least that’s the thought – and hope – to which Oren clings as a closing consolation for his in any other case lonely, empty struggling.

Night Sky had its world première at FrightFest 2022





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