Horror Review: The Vast Of Night (2019)

One night in New Mexico, in the late 1950s, a switchboard operator and radio DJ discover a strange audio frequency which could change the future forever.

Okay, I admit it, this is not a Horror film. This film is actually a Sci-Fi/Mystery banner but I urge you to stay with me on this.

I do really love a good Sci-Fi film and always have done, I will admit to you that I was expecting more of a Sci-Fi film with Horror elements to it when I watched this but even though there really isn’t any Horror featured here I wasn’t left disappointed which seriously surprised me.

From the moment the film started I was already commenting about how great it looked and how I was really enjoying the camera work. I was even more impressed when I found out how small the budget was, made for $700,000 which I know is a lot of money but not in the film business.

As mentioned before there’s some amazing camera work featured here, something I love to see in a film. I also have to state that the cast in this film is skeletal but each character is played fantastically and you really get pulled into the story and feel like you’re right there with them.

Ultimately what we have here is a vision of what the film-makers wanted their film to be like and they stuck to it, and I have to say that that vision is such a great one. The fact that this is Director Andrew Patterson’s debut feature is mind blowing and I will definitely be looking out for his work in the future

“The Vast Of Night” helps showcase the upcoming talent in the business. Like I said I know it’s not a Horror film, it’s a Sci-Fi, but I urge you to watch this and appreciate some great story telling and camera work.

If you want to see “The Vast Of Night” trailer then just click on the video below:


Miscellaneous facts about the film:

The radio station call letters “WOTW” are an homage to “War of the Worlds”, a novel by H.G. Wells and, more aptly, its radio play adaptation by Orson Welles.

The town’s name Cayuga is borrowed from Cayuga Productions, Rod Serling’s production company that produced The Twilight Zone (1959). There is no such town as Cayuga, New Mexico.

Filmed in 17 days in September 2016.

According to the director in a New York Times article the film takes place in November, 1958.

The shot of Fay at the switchboard is held for nine minutes and forty seconds and was cut down from an original 11-minute take.

Jake Horowitz’s character, Everett Sloan, shares the name of Everett Sloane, a character actor from Orson Welles’s Mercury Theater (Citizen Kane (1941), The Lady from Shanghai (1947)) and The Twilight Zone.

While Everett is walking Fay to her job at the telephone exchange, Fay begins recounting interesting articles she’s read recently, all of which come from various editions of the magazine Mechanix Illustrated. The articles referenced, in order, are: “Electronic Highway of the Future” from January 1958, “A-Powered Trains in Glass Tubes” from December 1956, and “Your Telephone of Tomorrow” from September 1956.

The title is taken from William Shakespeare’s The Tempest: “For this, be sure, tonight thou shalt have cramps, Side-stitches that shall pen thy breath up. Urchins Shall, forth at vast of night that they may work, All exercise on thee. Thou shalt be pinched As thick as honeycomb, each pinch more stinging Than bees that made ’em”

The Cayuga High School gym floor was sanded down and refinished to remove 3-point lines and volleyball lines and repainted to have a narrow skeleton key lane.

The name of the character Renny is a reference to actor Michael Rennie, who played the alien Klaatu in The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951).

Empty locker rooms in the gym were used for sound stage space and duplicate versions of the switchboard set and the WOTW control room set were constructed there to allow for more controlled environments.

The long take sequence when Fay sends Everett the mysterious signal consists of four practical shots with CGI used to create transitions between them. Production assistant Nathan Price drove the go-kart to emphasize the small scale of the town at night.

Santa Mira is mentioned a few times. Santa Mira is also the name of the fictional California town in the 1956 film: Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

The gym and some exterior town scenes were filmed in Whitney, Texas.

The Peter Pan album in the radio station when they are checking the reel to reels was released in 1960.

The team from Hobbs may be a reference to a 1967 incident in Hobbs, NM.

The lead-in at the beginning is a clear reference to the lead-in of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone (1959).

Included among the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”, edited by Steven Schneider.

Despite the fictional town of Cayuga in the movie being located in the Southwest, there is a real Cayuga village in Cayuga County, New York. The village takes its name from the indigenous Cayuga people.

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