The One Unscripted Joke That Joel Edgerton Snuck Into It Comes At Night

Joel Edgerton smiling in It Comes At Night.

It Comes At Night is an intense experience. It is also moody, gripping and truly unsettling. But despite this darkness, there is one moment of levity in the film that will actually make you guffaw with laughter. I won't go into too many details about the scene, but it involves Joel Edgerton and Christopher Abbott briefly joking about the lack of plumbing in the house, and then immediately taking it too far. It turns out that this moment wasn't actually in Trey Shults' script for It Comes At Night, and was instead completely improvised by the duo. But it was also a vital moment for the film, as it provided some much needed hope that this new community could work. Joel Edgerton explained:

That's the one moment of levity. That was unscripted and let us show the family, because in order for the family to go on their downward spiral -- the two families -- they really need to get to a place of, 'Aw, this could work.' There's a hopefulness. There's a sense of community.

Joel Edgerton admitted this to me when I sat down to discuss It Comes At Night with him earlier this week. The Australian actor made the above remarks when I suggested that even though it is being marketed as such, It Comes At Night isn't just a horror movie. While it does include elements of the genre, and Trey Shults does an incredible job of creating an unnerving mood and fright, it actually feels like an amalgamation of genres. This provoked Joel Edgerton to remark:

It's hard to pin down what you should call this movie. You're right it has got horror elements. But for me it is a psychological thriller as well, and a suspense film, it is an end of the world movie. It is a family drama. It's definitely not a comedy. Maybe it's what it is not. It's not a romance movie or a comedy.

It most definitely isn't the latter two. It Comes At Night is set in a dystopian future where a virus has ravaged humanity. Joel Edgerton's Paul lives in a desolate home in the middle of a forest with his wife Sarah (Carmen Ejogo) and their son Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr.). But when Christopher Abbott's Will and his wife and young child suddenly arrive at their abode, Paul immediately begins to question whether he can trust them, and whether or not they should join them in their home. You can watch the trailer for It Comes At Night, and get a sense of its aesthetic and style, below.

It Comes At Night is now in theaters across the US, while you can also read my review for the film.

Gregory Wakeman