This is the kind of slow-burn horror entry that won’t play well with casual audiences, but fans of meticulously crafted thrillers will find plenty to sink their teeth into. Propelled by an efficient 90ish-minute running time, writer-director Trey Edwards Shults is economical with both plot and character development, but not in a way that’s detrimental to the narrative: The limited plot is supplanted by the claustrophobic setting, and limiting the action to a handful of locations allows even minor developments to register as strikingly compelling. The movie begins with its general storyline already in motion, and the characters are mostly defined by their reactions to the movie’s events, which helps nullify their limited development. The implications of the storyline are weighty and thought-provoking, and director Shults manages to draw an impressive amount of tension by focusing on the characters carefully navigating their way through the tension imposed by the nerve-shredding circumstances.
Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)