At Night Comes Wolves

**1/2

Reviewed by: Mateusz Tarwacki

At Night Comes Wolves
"What is painfully lacking in the film is the agency of the main character and women in general."

Due to its often low production budget, classic exploitation cinema took up trendy, loud, controversial, extreme or niche matters while looking for other avenues of interest for viewers. Although many of them fell into oblivion, a drawer labelled B-class cinema, some gained the status of cult films. Tj Marine in his At Night Comes Wolves follows the patterns of exploitation cinema by showing misogyny and the objectification of women.

The American director tells the story of Leah (Gabi Alves) who is going through a deep crisis in her marriage. Despite her efforts to satisfy the needs of her husband, Daniel (Jacob Allen Weldy), she meets with his indifference and the expectation of artificial submission. As the tension escalates between them, Leah gets in the car and drives in blind frustration, without a specific goal, until the fuel runs out. The lack of a way out of the situation pushes her into the hands of Davey (Vladimir Noel), an alchemist- experimenter who makes strange concoctions supposedly solving all problems.

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Although exploitation cinema has its own, more or less predictable rules, a basic self-criticism should be expected after a modern production exploiting an important matter. What is painfully lacking in the film is the agency of the main character and women in general. As the protagonist, Leah does not have a clear identity of her own – her character is being exposed through the prism of an objectified person, someone who is always there for others but never for herself. The very decision to escape is an immature giving up of fate to the hands of blind chance.

Even though At Night Comes Wolves could be a story about the creation of an identity based on a counter to this misogynistic world of objectification, Tj Marine does not give viewers this satisfaction, rather trying to scare them with a vision of a violent world from which it is impossible to escape. The only solution is destruction – put into the hands of chance.

The American director's film is exploitative, but only in the old, safe style. It does not take responsibility for its heroine, not only by depicting men objectifying women, but also by objectifying the heroine through the narrative itself. At Night Comes Wolves, despite its potential, should be put in the drawer labelled forgotten B-class cinema.

Reviewed on: 17 Apr 2021
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At Night Comes Wolves packshot
A woman escaping an unhappy relationship becomes involved with a cult.

Director: Tj Marine

Writer: Tj Marine

Starring: Gabi Alves, Vladimir Noel, Colleen Elizabeth Miller, Joe Bongiovanni, Madeleine Heil, Sarah Serio, Jacob Allen Weldy

Year: 2021

Runtime: 77 minutes

Country: US

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