In the twilight of the 1950s, two youths seek the source of a mysterious frequency that has descended upon a town in New Mexico, in Andrew Patterson's pitch-perfect sci-fi thriller.

Midnight Madness

The Vast of Night

Andrew Patterson

A mysterious frequency descends on a small New Mexico town in the twilight of the 1950s, forever changing the lives of two youths as they investigate and encounter its origin. Spanning a single night, director Andrew Patterson's transfixing debut barrels its characters through a tribute to the starry-eyed speculations of Rod Serling, as Patterson and his compatriots meticulously render a bygone era. It's one that eschews empty nostalgia through judicious shading of history's insidious margins, and which infectiously captures the wonder of technology, as well as the unsettling risks that come with peering into the unknown.

Intermittently framed within the hazy black-and-white scan lines of a television broadcast, Patterson's scope frequently widens to a vivid roaming gaze that fluidly connects its plucky protagonists through a series of increasingly gobsmacking long takes. In other scenes, the camera settles with intense concentration on a single subject, achieving taut suspense through subtle penetrative zooms and the beguiling rat-tat-tat chatter of Sierra McCormick and Jake Horowitz's breakout performances. At his most audacious, Patterson eerily fades to black for minutes at a time, inviting the audience to lean into the darkness and hang onto every word of the disturbing conspiracy that James Montague and Craig W. Sanger's evocative screenplay weaves.

Deserved recipient of enthusiastic accolades since its award-winning bow at the Slamdance Film Festival earlier this year, The Vast of Night is a sublime slice of sci-fi that heralds both a brave new world and a bold new voice with a bright future.

PETER KUPLOWSKY

New this year! All Midnight Madness screenings at the Ryerson Theatre are 19+ events. Proof-of-age ID required for entry.

Screenings

Sat Sep 07

TIFF Bell Lightbox 3

Press
10:15am
Thu Sep 12

Ryerson Theatre

Regular
11:59pm
Fri Sep 13

TIFF Bell Lightbox 3

Regular
11:30am
Sun Sep 15

TIFF Bell Lightbox 3

Regular
9:45am