Film Review: ‘The Vast of Night’ is out of this world
Cayuga, New Mexico is a small ass town, and you can tell it because the camera doesn’t blink as it seems to run the full length of it, end to end, several times over across the brief eighty-five minutes that make up Andrew Patterson’s film The Vast of Night (which is now streaming on Amazon Prime). The a basketball game at the high school, and everybody in town save our heroes (more on them in a second) seems to be there; there’s a parking lot full of their cars; there’s a black stretch of Main Street, all the shops windows dark for the night; oh and there’s a little radio station, all the better to hear the incoming crackling space-alien sound-waves with.
The Vast of Night presents itself as a forgotten, perhaps purposefully unremembered episode of The Twilight Zone — it’s soaked in the hazy menace of forgetfulness, as if somebody wiped our brains of its memory, or perhaps it was better, healthier, for us just not to recall. It’s a beam out from the 1950s, a single shaft of flashlight shot across a field so dark your fingertips turn on you. A TV screen, greenish to the tint, flickers, casting everybody in a space-man gloom. We, simple in our dungarees, our stiff skirts, have amphibian DNA, third eyes, an old-timey X-File that fell behind the water cooler.