There have been enough home invasion films released in the last two decades to establish the tropes of the sub-genre, and The Long Night contains many of them. A couple travel to a remote location before they are trapped in a home by invaders, who seem to have the ability to enter the house any time they want. Phone lines don’t work, pets are early victims and warnings of violence to come, and the sudden arrival of additional visitors leads to their demise. The Long Night adds in occult and supernatural elements, but it is far from the first home invasion film to do this. It isn’t even the only home invasion film I watched this week to use this hybrid revision.
The Long Night begins with an oddly disjointed introduction to Grace (Scout-Taylor Compton), a New Yorker who knows little about her parents or childhood in the south. After receiving news from a man claiming to have information about her family’s disappearance, Grace travels to visit him with her boyfriend Jack (Nolan Gerard Funk). Upon arrival, they discover an empty house, but let themselves in. This decision proves unwise when a cult appears after sundown, surrounding the house and leaving pentagram markings around the property.
There isn’t much subtlety in The Long Night, but the narrative still drags. This could possibly be due to the familiarity of the tropes being used, which do little to revise or add new elements to the conversation. Up until the nonsensical twist at the end, The Long Night plods along predictably without successfully capitalizing on what makes home invasion films terrifying. Even the sudden arrival of the owner’s brother (played by Jeff Fahey) doesn’t add much excitement. The film plods along too quickly, while wasting opportunities in the process. The result is a film that feels both rushed and boring at the same time.
The Long Night is well shot, but this doesn’t matter when the script feels incomplete. Much of the movie just kills time until the final twist reveal, not providing the audience with reasons to care or be entertained. It doesn’t help that the characters are poorly developed. We get slight conflict after learning that Jack didn’t stand up for Grace when introducing her to his parents, a sequence inexplicably missing from the film. This conflict goes nowhere, and just feels like an obligatory trope borrowed from countless other home invasion films. Otherwise, there is absolutely no development of characters and relationships in the film. This just leaves numerous sequences watching the protagonists freaking out about the invaders, but the dialogue is as obvious and uninspired as the plotting.
The Blu-ray release includes behind the scenes features, breaking down three elements of the film: the birthing sequence, the look of the film, and the score. There is also a commentary track from director Rich Ragsdale, along with his short film, The Loop. The Loop has no connection to The Long Night, but it is a mildly amusing short film with more potential than the feature.
Entertainment Value: 3.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 4/10
Historical Significance: 3/10
Special Features: 6/10