(US - 2020)
Directed by Andrew Patterson. Written by James Montague and Craig W. Sanger. Cast: Sierra McCormick, Jake Horowitz, Bruce Davis, Gail Cronauer, Cheyenne Barton, Mark Banik, Gregory Peyton, Adam Dietrich, Mallorie Rodak. (PG-13, 91 mins)
A micro-budgeted Little Movie That Could out of Texas, THE VAST OF NIGHT was shot way back in 2016, with debuting director Andrew Patterson seeing it get rejected for submission by one indie film festival after another. The Slamdance Film Festival finally bit and included it on their 2019 roster and the buzz grew from there. It was picked up by Amazon, who released it to some drive-ins in mid-May, two weeks before its streaming debut. With cinemas closed and new movies at a minimum due to the coronavirus pandemic, THE VAST OF NIGHT is certainly benefiting from a bad situation and likely would've been lost in the shuffle under normal circumstances. It's not quite the genre Insta-Classic of the Week, but it is an affectionate love letter to THE TWILIGHT ZONE from the start, with its very set-up introducing it--accompanied by a Rod Serling-like voiceover--as an episode of a faux TV series called PARADOX THEATER. It's a throwback '70s style sci-fi/paranoia thriller set in the '50s and with the investigative mindset and low-key feel of a podcast, refreshingly done completely straightforward and without any kitsch, irony, affect, or self-conscious awareness that it's an homage.