The Vast of Night, streaming now on Amazon Prime Video, will be of interest to fans of The X-Files and other sci-fi nerds. This Amazon original film was directed by Andrew Patterson and won the Best Narrative Feature Audience Award at the 2019 Slamdance Film Festival.
That’s a pretty impressive feat since this is Patterson’s first feature, which he also co-wrote and co-produced under the pseudonym James Montague.
The sci-fi thriller The Vast of Night is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Set in New Mexico in the 1950s, The Vast of Night is based loosely on the Foss Lake disappearances and the Kecksburg UFO incident. Starring Sierra McCormick as switchboard operator Faye Crocker and Jake Horowitz as disc jockey Everett Sloan, the story follows the pair as they track a strange audio frequency they believe could be coming from another world.
The hypothesis begins to form after the signal interrupts Sloan’s radio show, followed by a mysterious caller who claims to have served in the military and observed UFOs in a secure desert location.
It took Patterson another year to edit The Vast of Night, which he says was rooted in an idea he had held on to for several years of doing a black and white film that dealt with a UFO landing in New Mexico in the 1950s.
The Vast of Night was co-written with Patterson by Craig W. Sanger and co-produced with Patterson by Melissa Kirkendall and Adam Dietrich. Patterson used money he earned producing shorts and commercials for clients such as the Oklahoma City Thunder to finance the film, which cost $700,000 for its roughly four week shoot. Production primarily took place in Whitney, Texas, beginning in September 2016, with cinematography by M.I. Littin-Menz.
It took Patterson another year to edit The Vast of Night, which he says was rooted in an idea he had held on to for several years of doing a black and white film that dealt with a UFO landing in New Mexico in the 1950s. After its premiere at the 2019 Slamdance Film Festival and a tour of several other film festivals, the feature was acquired by Amazon Studios in September 2019.
Amazon released a trailer the following February and released the film nationally in drive-in cinemas that May, shortly after which it was added to Amazon Prime.
Critical and audience response to The Vast of Night has been overwhelmingly positive with a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Metacritic gives the film an average score of 85 out of 100, citing “universal acclaim” from critics, whose reviews the site aggregates for its ratings.
Rolling Stone’s David Fear called the film “ingenious,” while Katie Rife of The A.V. Club said it is “intimate” and “character-driven” while also being “eerie and compelling.”
Amy Taubin of Film Comment compared The Vast of Night to debuts by Christopher Nolan and Richard Kelly, calling it “a display of visionary moviemaking intelligence.” It was first runner-up for the Midnight Madness People’s Choice Award at the 2019 Toronto International Film and won the 2019 Overlook Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize and a Special Cinematography Award at the 2019 Hamptons International Film Festival.
Its numerous award nominations include Best First Screenplay at the Independent Spirit Awards and the 2019 Edinburgh International Film Festival’s award for Best International Feature Film.
The alien intrigue of The Vast of Night is sure to appeal to fans of The X-Files and extraterrestrial-encounter and UFO films like Contact.
The 2021 Critics’ Choice Super Awards saw The Vast of Night receive nominations for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Movie, as well as Best Actor in a Science Fiction/Fantasy Movie for Horowitz and Best Actress in a Science Fiction/Fantasy Movie for McCormick.
It’s not often that a small-budget, independent science fiction film garners this much success and praise so quickly, but this film appears to be the debut of a very skilled and promising young director, writer, and producer in Andrew Patterson. More than just an exciting alien flick, this movie is worth seeing for its resourceful and brilliant filmmaking as well.
The alien intrigue of The Vast of Night is sure to appeal to fans of The X-Files and extraterrestrial-encounter and UFO films like Contact. Rooted in the performances of its two primary stars and engaging cinematography, as well as a clever and intriguing script, this small movie continues to have a big impact on audiences. X-Files fans know the truth is out there, and the truth is this film is definitely worth your time.
If you enjoy independent films, especially breakout premieres by new directors, The Vast of Night will surely be of interest to you.
Its period setting, tight budget, and clever story make it a compelling beginning to a new auteur’s film career. If you’re ready to take a trip back to 1950s New Mexico, turn on your radio receiver, and listen for strange signals, you can stream The Vast of Night now on Amazon Prime Video.