Combustible Celluloid Review - Gone in the Night (2022), Matthew Derby, Eli Horowitz, Eli Horowitz, Winona Ryder, Dermot Mulroney, John Gallagher Jr., Owen Teague, Brianne Tju
Combustible Celluloid
With: Winona Ryder, Dermot Mulroney, John Gallagher Jr., Owen Teague, Brianne Tju
Written by: Matthew Derby, Eli Horowitz
Directed by: Eli Horowitz
MPAA Rating: R for language throughout and brief bloody images
Running Time: 90
Date: 07/15/2022

Gone in the Night (2022)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Cabin Ploy

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This deceptive thriller uses small, subtle touches and cleverly-placed flashbacks to create and sustain a tense, dread-filled mood, effectively overcoming the story's few, niggling logic loopholes.

Kath (Winona Ryder) and her younger boyfriend Max (John Gallagher Jr.) head to a remote Northern California cabin for a getaway. Unfortunately, when they arrive, they find the cabin already occupied, apparently double-booked. Al (Owen Teague) tries to give them the brush-off, but Greta (Brianne Tju) invites them to stay. They share some beers and play a game, but in the morning, it looks as if Max and Greta have run away together.

Later, Kath can't quite make sense of it, so she calls the owner of the cabin, Nicholas (Dermot Mulroney), to look for clues as to where Greta and Max might have gone. She and Nicholas begin spending time together, and she learns that he was once a successful businessman before retreating to the woods. But there are still unanswered questions, and a darker mystery lurking.

A directorial debut by Eli Horowitz — co-creator of the Julia Roberts series Homecoming — Gone in the Night (formerly titled The Cow) has a veneer of confidence as it unfolds. The opening sequence with Kath and Max simply driving through the woods, arguing over a playlist, and Max stopping to retrieve a lost hat, manages to conjure up a sense of unease through its seemingly innocuous events.

Horowitz drops small details, such as a pair of green raincoats, a restaurant that only serves octopus, avocado plants, and a collector's punk rock t-shirt, to jiggle the movie's balance, drawing our attention to other places.

At the center, thanks to committed performances by Ryder, Mulroney, and Tju, Gone in the Night grapples tantalizingly with questions about aging and experience, and the ways those things relate to couplehood. Max wants to go to raucous parties while Kath says "the world is so loud... I can't hardly hear myself anymore." Most of this stuff works so well that the iffy plot setup and some of its logical fallout are easily forgiven.

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