As Night Comes
Troubled seventeen-year-old Sean Holloway falls in with a group of teenage outcasts called "The Misfits," known around town for their petty crimes and vandalism. But things begin to spiral out of control on "Mischief Night" - when their pranks culminate into a night of violence and mayhem on the eve of Halloween - and Sean finds himself deeply in over his head.
The DVD comes loaded with Extra Features that you won't find anywhere else. Behind the Scenes, Director's Commentary, Photo Gallery, and over 8 minutes of Deleted Scenes.
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While technically a "teen thriller" as other reviews state, it handles everything in a very adult manner. The teens aren't silly, the stereotypes aren't over done, and the social issues are realistically portrayed. The characters are chillingly realistic, so much so that I can remember people from my high school days(not even 10 years ago) and had a difficult time not putting their names with the characters. Over all, it's a movie that is not only worth seeing, but it needs to be seen.
It is difficult to point out the best issues the movie handles without ruining the plot for future viewers, so I will leave those discoveries for watching the movie. There isn't any need to explain something that has already been so excellently shown in the movie itself. Perhaps the most touching part of the movie for me was the end, I couldn't decide how I felt. While Ricky's actions were extreme and violent, I can't say his actions weren't things I dreamed of having the guts to do, or witness someone else do, to the people who bullied me in high school years ago. While his actions were wrong, the motives behind them were not. Ricky has admirable goals. He wants his small group of friends to have a good future, to become more than society tells them they can be, to be safe, and to be respected. The theme in the movie of the darker side of people hidden beneath the surface is evident everywhere. Ricky is a natural leader, fearless and protective. But, he is also victim to an unnamed mental illness which effects his behavior and moods when not medicated as evidenced by Sean asking if he has taken his meds whenever his actions become too extreme.
While Sean is an excellent character, he is a bit of sheep until the end of the movie. He does not speak for himself and follows meekly no matter how strongly he feels about not being party to Ricky's violence. His dynamic growth as a person is easy to see and when he finally breaks free and does what he believes is right, it is a touching sight. However, Ricky's character is not so easily understood. Just like the teachers in the high school within the story, the viewer can easily miss the brilliant mind and incredible leadership skills that Ricky displays throughout the movie. He is subtle when he needs to be and loud when he wants to be. He can inspire a crowd of adults twice his age with a speech, has earned extreme loyalty from his peers, and formulates extremely well thought out plans.
In the end, I think this movie touches on subjects that sorely need to be accurately portrayed. As Night Comes is just the movie to portray them and it does it beautifully. This movie has no need for special effects, gore, or sex to string the audience along. It's story alone is enough to keep you captivated and the issues it handles are very real and likely to be recognized both by teens currently in high school and those who have graduated high school in the past few decades. It shows that the kids themselves are not the only problem and that their cruelty to each other goes far beyond cliques, fashion, and sports. It also shows that teachers give up on some students, simply leaving them to whatever fate that teacher decides the student is worthy of and doing nothing to help them while they openly do whatever they can to help those they deem gifted enough to receive such sage advice. It shows that students from both peer groups can have terrible home lives. It even shows the deep divide between the rich kids and the poor kids and the kids who have connections thanks to their family name.
Overall, this movie needs to be viewed with the knowledge that what it shows are very real things that go on in schools today. That students really treat each other that way based on what they perceive as justifiable differences. And when the movie is over, take a moment and ask yourself "What if that teacher hadn't given up on Ricky and had put effort into cultivating his brilliant mind toward positive outlets?". This movie has no true good guy or bad guy. Everyone in this movie has faults and virtues along with outside influences that threaten to push them over the edge.
Baines, who is an English born, Australian actor, singer and model, reminded me in his creepy role as the leader of The Misfits of Gavin O'Herlihy's character in Death Wish 3 as the leader of a gang of punks, of Tim Van Patten's high school character in Class of 1984, and of Richard Widmark as Tommy Udo in Kiss of Death. I think Baines has a lot of potential. Even when it felt like he was overacting I thought it worked, that he pulled it off.
Ryan Koehn co-wrote the screenplay with director Richard Zelniker, when Koehn was 16 and still in high school. You can read about this as well as about Evanne Friedmann in a U-Southern California student newspaper article titled "SCA student-penned film gets theatrical release." Someone who, like me, is interested in film and movie-making may find more to appreciate in this flick then someone who is just looking for a good, entertaining movie. And I will say, that despite its flaws, this movie has a heart.
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