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Movie Review: 'The Vast of Night' Vastly Good

by Todd A. Smith

 

Jake Horowitz and Sierra McCormick star in “The Vast of Night” (Photo Credit: Prime Video).

 

Vast Array of Qualities 

 


Usually when a movie takes place in another realm, it is not for me with a few exceptions.


Although science fiction and the great beyond are often beyond my wheelhouse, “The Vast of Night” did not induce sleep like night often does for me.


“The Vast of Night” has a vast array of genre-bending qualities that makes it a good fit for quarantine viewing on a Friday or Saturday night.


There’s something idyllic about the 1950s and 1960s to me.


Things appeared more innocent, moral and idealistic.


As my parents would often tell me growing up, those were the good old days.


Sure, they had problems like any generation from war to poverty to racism.


But there was a certain comfort that existed during those good old days that does not exist anymore in the “bad old days.”


The old folks brag about the days that people left his or her door unlocked and no one broke in.


The days in which neighbor could trust neighbor and the elders could discipline other people’s children if they saw them get out of line.


That’s the world in which “The Vast of Night” takes place.


It is a time in which a woman would cause controversy if they showed too much skin, or, clutch the pearls, if that old dog bit her before marriage.


To my new school readers, that old dog was pregnancy.


To quote my grandmother, a pregnant woman was not with child.


She was “like that.”


So when strange things start happening in “The Vast of Night,” it frightens the daylights out of the people in small town New Mexico.


In small Southern towns, the entire heartbeat of the town centers on sports from high school to little league.


If there is a game happening in small town USA, chances are the majority of the town is at the game.


That is definitely the reality for the community surrounding Cayuga High School.


The amateur basketball games are so popular that they are taped for a later radio broadcast.


Unfortunately, as the recording crew at Cayuga High School tries to set up the recording equipment, they run into some technical difficulties.


The power keeps flickering at the old high school gymnasium.


Could it be a recent tornado causing the damage?


Or could it be those dang squirrels or chipmunks biting through the cords again?


Regardless, the crew has to find a way to record the games for the radio because the radio station is the glue that keeps the community together.


The radio station has also made a local celebrity out of one of its charismatic disc jockeys, Everett (Jake Horowitz).


The young disc jockey has a big brother/little sister relationship with teenager, Fay Crocker (Sierra McCormick).


Young Fay has a job placing telephone calls at a switchboard.


That was back in the day when operators had to put your telephone calls through via a switchboard after you told them the phone number you wanted to dial.


Fay has purchased her first tape recorder from the Montgomery Ward catalog.


However, she has yet to record herself or anyone else.


As a matter of fact, she has never even held a microphone.


So when Everett makes Fay put her new tape recorder and microphone to the test, he kind of creates a young, inexperienced journalist so to speak.


The two begin interviewing people on the high school parking lot before the game.


Despite her anxiety, Fay has a lot of fun with the microphone and tape recorder.


However, she is no professional like Everett.


The two eventually part ways for the night because Everett has to get back to the radio station and Fay has to get back to the switchboard.


But, some strange events begin happening in the town, and the two might be the only ones in town that are capable of figuring it out.


Fay starts hearing some audio interference as people make calls to the switchboard and over Everett’s radio show.


Furthermore, callers are starting to say that they see strange activity in the night sky.


Fay is able to plug the strange sounds into Everett’s radio show.


The young disc jockey asks his listeners if they can discern what the sounds could actually be.


One man named Billy (voiced by Bruce Davis, “All Eyez on Me”) calls into Everett’s show because he recognizes the sound.


Billy has some hair-raising stories about hearing similar sounds in his past.


What could it be?


Are the residents in danger?


Or is it just their imagination?


“The Vast of Night” benefits from the charismatic performance by Horowitz and the youthfully exuberant, nerdy, but not annoying performance by McCormick.


The young duo practically carries the movie by themselves.


But the movie also benefits from the fact that it will have something for fans of various film genres such as science fiction and period pieces.


Seeing the old school cars and old school clothes will make people nostalgic about a much simpler time.


But as “The Vast of Night” shows, those times might not be as simple as it seemed.


What are those sounds?


What is that in the sky?


After all, the Soviets still pose a serious threat to America’s way of life.


“The Vast of Night” might take place in another realm, but by combining realities from another realm and the realm that people are used to, the movie provides a much-needed relief for audiences anxious to see good movies again.

 

“The Vast of Night” is now streaming on Prime Video.



REGAL RATINGS

FOUR CROWNS=EXCELLENT

THREE CROWNS=GOOD

TWO CROWNS=AVERAGE

ONE CROWN=POOR

This article was published on Saturday 30 May, 2020.
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