Review: The Vast of Night

Sierra McCormick in The Vast of Night

The Vast of Night on Prime Video is a member of a group of sci-fi films and series that deal with visiting space ships and alien abductions. This one is different enough to be interesting, even though it hits all the same notes as many other such films before it. There are some spoilers ahead.

We’re taken into the story through a black-and-white TV. In Rod Serling like tones, an announcer introduces us to an episode of the “Paradox Theatre Hour.” Once inside the TV we live in the grainy world of 50s television.

a scene in The Vast of Night
Lot of darkness and obscurity in The Vast of Night. In some scenes, the screen is solid black and we just hear voices.

The Vast of Night is set in a mythical New Mexico town – not Roswell, but close enough. There’s a basketball game and the whole town is at the high school gym.

Two people are working. Sixteen year old Fay (Sierra McCormick) is running the telephone switchboard. Her friend Everett (Jake Horowitz) is playing songs on the radio.

Fay notices a strange noise on the radio. Then the switchboard floods with worried calls reporting things in the sky.

Sierra McCormick and Jake Horowitz in The Vast of Night

Fay calls Everett. She’s proud of her brand new tape recorder and uses it to play the sounds for Everett. They decide to put the sounds on the radio and ask if anyone knows what they are.

First they hear from Billy (Bruce Davis) who seems straight from Project Blue Book. He tells a story about his time in the Air Force. Then Mabel (Gail Cronauer) calls with a story about her 9 year old son being snatched up by a space ship some 50 years ago.

There’s a lot of running, fast driving, wandering in the dark woods with just a flashlight and other exciting action in addition to the two stories Fay and Everett hear.

A scene from The Vast of Night
Imagine, if you can, that this is inside a 1950s black and white TV.

This movie isn’t breaking any new ground – in fact its full of obvious references to sci-fi classics that have come before it. But it is unusual in presentation. There’s some impressive camera work. It has a certain charm.

I think my favorite part was a long conversation Fay and Everett had as they walked to work. She read Popular Science and Popular Mechanics and was full of stories about self driving cars and personal phones that went everywhere with you. I do appreciate 50s geeky girls being represented.

The Vast of Night poster

Check out the trailer.

The Vast of Night is fun and fast and every self-respecting sci-fi fan needs to put it on their watch list.

2 thoughts on “Review: The Vast of Night”

  1. christopher a swaby

    i loved this one. i completely agree with critics who think this is an exceptional film. yes, it harkens back to sci fi of the 50s/60s but it is done with loving knowing nod to those films. and different from those films, it has a female lead who has agency. and a substantive role for a Black person. i will definitely watch this one again.

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