Gone in the Night is a murder mystery turned sci-fi horror that offers underdeveloped ideas and underwhelming thrills.
Kath (Winona Ryder) goes on a trip with her boyfriend Max (John Gallagher Jr.). After driving for two hours, they finally arrived at the cabin Max rented, only to find that another couple had rented it too. Greta (Brianne Tju) and Al (Owen McTeague) agreed to let them stay for the night. Kath tucks in early and wakes up to find Max, her car, and Greta missing.
Kath somehow manages to go back home and resume her regular life. But against her judgment, she decides to find out what happened to Max that night.
Gone in the Night (previously titled “The Cow” when it premiered at SXSW) has a moody atmosphere and a fitting cast to get your attention in the beginning.
Winona Ryder and John Gallagher Jr. look cute enough as a fictional couple. Owen Teague and Brianne Tju played the suspicious and abrasive pair well. An affable shaggy Delmont Mulroney (not to be confused with Dylan McDermott) makes an appearance later on. Performances are decent all around.
Unfortunately, the movie quickly fizzles into a plodding whodunit that lacks stakes, suspense, and anything worthwhile to make it a haunting experience. Gone in the Night neither wants to embrace its ridiculous storyline nor commit to its gory revelation.
As Kath sets out to find answers – starting with calling the owner of the cabin Nicholas (Mulroney) – the script uses flashbacks to reveal what happened, piling up contrived twists and haphazard connections at every turn.
It doesn’t help that the characters are simplistic. The movie doesn’t give enough reason why we should root for Kath and Max, two people who are broadly painted as individuals from different generations.
Kath is a mature woman. Max is an aimless man-child. She just wants to teach her hydroponics class in peace. He spends $150 on a shirt shipped from Tokyo to look like he doesn’t give a fuck.
Yet Kath has quirks telling us she doesn’t mind going on adventures. After all, she managed to convince Nicholas to tag along as she solves the case of her vanishing boyfriend. During this journey, the movie briefly discusses regret, mortality, and the ennui of waiting for death.
The plot mechanics prevent any of these ideas and characters from developing, including the villains in the movie. Tju does her best, but without enough dimensions, she turns into a comical villain who licks elbows.
In the end, we find out what happens to Max (the movie’s previous title providing a clue) and hint at the fate of the other three. But Gone in the Night doesn’t offer any worthwhile thrills to make this matter.
Gone in the Night
Gone in the Night is an underwhelming whodunit turned underdeveloped sci-fi horror that fails to deliver any watchable thrills.