A pre-opening credits advisory message which flashes up reading ‘This film should be played loud….as hell’ immediately sets the flavour for what’s to come in this full-on WTF horror entry which pulls from a number of diverse influences, ranging from the hazy 70s/80s slasher aesthetic, right through to the extreme body horror ‘anything goes’ world of Takashi Miike. Showing a real reverence for the genre in his second feature, director Matt Stuertz wants to keep his audience happy and entertained, but is also more than willing to put them through the wringer.
The intentionally threadbare plot is framed within a countdown which intermittently alerts audiences (often for comedic effect) of the time left until midnight when the titular figure (whoever or whatever ‘she’ reveals herself as) is destined to arrive. Well before this, we follow an Amazon-like subcontractor and his hairy hipster buddy driving to a remote lodge in the woods with a letter to deliver. Also sniffing around is a couple of free-spirited gals whose friend has gone missing in that area, although they seem more content on boozing it up in their bikinis than doing any actual investigating.
What starts off like a mumblecore film (albeit one with grubby voyeurism and a scene featuring flagrant masturbation) just when you think you’ve latched onto what genre style you’re watching – a call back to that old-school Friday the 13th sustained tension, where the POV of a shallow-breathing killer lurking in the woods is played out ad nauseam – along comes the searing third act which pretty much obliterates everything that has come before.
Stuertz peppers this build-up with some off-kilter and extremely funny moments until the gallows humour really comes to the fore during a finale which will have you roaring with laughter whilst simultaneously grimacing and retching at the screen. To reveal the details of that final section of the film would be to rob viewers of the delights which await them. Suffice to say, stomachs will churn at the sheer volume of spraying viscera and bodily fluids.
While past pretenders to the splatter throne like Eli Roth have only gone so far, acknowledging there’s some kind of line, Stuertz not only stamps all over it, but willfully disregards its existence in the first place.
Replete with the kind of synth score which genuinely adds to the action and never feels like a self-indulgent ad-on (provided by the talented and in demand Wojciech Golczewski) Tonight She Comes is the type of participatory horror made for a festival audience. A midnight movies-type buzz and appeal with genre fans awaits it.