There’s no shortage of wholesome alien/UFO films. While the most recent use of “aliens” typically involves actual close, gory encounters, there was a time when Spielbergian adventure romps were able to roam free about the film landscape. Super 8 is a fairly recent example of an attempt to give this subgenre a resurgence, but the Vast of Night is a successful mix of thrills and nostalgia.
So many horror projects just crib wholesale from Twilight Zone, but The Vast of Night uses it as a loving framing device. Billed as an episode of “Paradox Theater,” the story takes place in a small town; involving a DJ and a switchboard operator who happen to uncover a potential conspiracy during the night of a big high school basketball game.
What occurs of the course of the breezy hour and a half runtime can only be described as gradual and natural. None of it feels forced, as you’re slowly taken out of the folksy feel of the “big game” and into a new universe. But its throughput is still very much folksy, to its credit.
The Vast of Night benefits from an American Graffiti vibe before any of the alleged alien insidiousness happens. Sierra McCormick and Jake Horowitz have fantastic chemistry together as Fay and Everett respectively, navigating this new landscape together alongside of the audience. The sparing supporting cast all do some heavy lifting too.