PLOT: Marine Ray Marrow (Zane Holtz) has returned home after serving in Syria, after his wife is killed in a car accident. Meanwhile, 5-year-old son Lawrence Marrow (Azhy Robertson), who survived the accident, develops post-traumatic stress disorder, which begins to manifest in strange ways, including what appears to be a supernatural knowledge of the disappearance of a local gangster’s missing daughter. When this information reaches the ears of the local gangster, Bernie Coleman (Chance Kelly), a dark cloud of suspicion falls on this small coal-mining town, as Coleman wants answers and revenge, putting the safety of Ray, Lawrence, their family, and others, all at risk, not just from the gangster, but from whoever was involved with the disappearance of Coleman’s girl, and innocent Lawrence is caught right in the middle of it all.
REVIEW: Jason Noto’s new supernatural thriller, Beyond The Night, is a slow burn film, and I very much mean that in a good way. I found the storytelling, characterizations, the direction, and the photography to all work harmoniously together in keeping my attention; which is NOT an easy thing to accomplish these days. Oh, and it is a pretty down film. This is not one of those “everyone lives happily ever after” movies. The story is pretty straight forward, despite the supernatural aspects, and the ending filled with a kind of melancholy and resolve, instead of happiness and closure.
Above everything else, everyone involved with this movie did an amazing job. Especially the cast. Zane Holtz as Ray, Lawrence’s dad, plays his character subdued but tightly wound, feeling like at any moment he might explode from all his underlying anxiety and pain he is trying to control. Suffice to say, Zane plays the protective dad to the hilt.
Tammy Blanchard as Ray’s devoted sister, does a terrific job of being both a cop and a loving sister. But, for me, the two stand-out performances are Azhy Robertson and Chance Kelly. I expect good acting from Chance Kelly, from his chilling performance as the serial killer in Unbreakable to his role as David Duchovny’s best friend, the occasionally morally ambiguous Detective Cutler on Aquarius. Simply put, Chance knows his way around a script and has proven so over the last 20 years. This film is a great example of what he can do with a well-written character. So, Chance’s being a stand out performer in this film is no surprise, as he was born to play characters like Bernie Coleman; an angry father with a tragic past, who does what he does as a gangster while hiding a broken heart.
I guess the real shocking performance in this film, was Azhy Robertson. This kid came out of nowhere. I have never heard of him before, and as I watched the film, I was blown away at how he really drew us into his story. I couldn’t help but notice there’s a little bit of Danny Torrence in his performance, which is a really good thing, because the film and his character only works if the audience cares about his character, and, he nailed that. You can tell that Azhy is a gifted young actor whom I hope we see more of as he grows up.
Finally, I get to the performance of the film’s director, Jason Noto. Jason is kind of new to the game, as to date he has only directed short films and one indie feature, back in 2008. But, this film I believe will help make more concrete his foundation as a visual storyteller. He is not afraid to let the shot linger, opting to not go for the all too popular quick cuts we see in too many films today. instead, he allows his actors to do their jobs. It’s not always about what the actor is saying on camera, but instead, it’s about the silence between the words where the story is told. Noto understands that. And because of it, I for one am looking forward to more from this young man.
CONCLUSION: Great casting, superb acting, solid direction, great cinematography, and a beautiful if not oft haunting soundtrack earns Beyond the Night 8 out of 10 Potatoes.