“You are entering a realm between clandestine and forgotten.” So begins the story of one fateful night in 1950s New Mexico. Photographed in soft, inky-dark tones and shot in nearly real-time, The Vast of Night follows young, winsome switchboard operator Fay (Sierra McCormick) and charismatic radio DJ Everett (Jake Horowitz) as they discover a strange audio frequency that could change their small town and the future forever.
Set at the dawn of the space-race and replete with uncanny and ironic period details, The Vast of Night falls down the rabbit hole of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone and stitches together a narrative scavenger hunt through dropped phone calls, AM radio signals, secret reels of tape forgotten in a library, switchboards, crossed patch lines and an anonymous phone call. The unexpected is explored both in the film’s twisty plot and its bold cinematic style, which includes stealthy long camera movements and even a spookily effective black screen.
McCormick and Horowitz are joined by a cast of Texas and Oklahoma locals, including scene-stealer Gail Cronauer as an elderly woman with a dark secret, and Bruce Davis, whose voice we hear during a spellbinding phone call scene. Director Andrew Patterson, an Oklahoma City native making his feature film debut, announces himself as a major new American voice in cinema and storytelling.
With allusions to classic television, old radio shows, and movie masters such as Michael Mann and David Fincher, The Vast of Night is nonetheless a breathtaking original. The experience drops viewers into a time and a town hidden away — and with quiet mysteries which only present themselves to those curious and patient enough to hear them. The theatrical release is slated for May 29, 2020 in drive-in theatres, followed by a release on Amazon Prime Video later. Check out the trailer here: