Tense R-Rated Thriller Keeps You Glued To Your Set, Stream Without Netflix

By Robert Scucci | Published

Just one month before the final eight episodes of Breaking Bad went into production, Bryan Cranston took on one of his more questionable roles when he starred in 2013’s Cold Comes the Night alongside Alice Eve. Set in upstate New York instead of Albuquerque, New Mexico, the film falls into morally gray territory in which the lives of a single mother and young child are in danger when they find themselves caught in the middle of a heist gone wrong.

Though this film wasn’t what we’d call a hit by any stretch of the imagination, it’s an effective thriller with a unique premise that features two strong lead actors committing to the script and delivering powerful performances.

A Mother Struggling To Get By

Cold Comes the Night centers on a widowed mother and motel owner named Chloe (Alice Eve), who finds herself struggling to make ends meet. Most of the business Chloe receives at her motel comes in the form of drug dealers and prostitutes, which isn’t a great environment to raise a child. To complicate matters, social services is threatening to take her daughter, Sophia, away if she can’t change her living situation within two weeks.

Though Chloe does have a secret stash of emergency cash hidden in her pantry, she worries that she won’t be able to raise enough money to find a new home for herself and Sophia. Chloe’s financial woes become the least of her worries in Cold Comes the Night when two criminals named Topo (Bryan Cranston) and Quincy decide to spend the night at her motel. Chloe is woken up after a heated exchange results in the death of Quincy and Gwen, a local prostitute that Quincy hired.

Blindness Can’t Stop Bryan Cranston’s Topo

Chloe learns that Topo is a courier and killer with a very unique problem: he’s legally blind and no longer the killing machine that he once was. Despite his disability, Topo successfully kidnaps Chloe and Sophia because he needs them to help him locate the missing Jeep that contains the package he’s supposed to deliver. Cold Comes the Night quickly becomes an exercise in frustration on Chloe’s part because she doesn’t think like a criminal, and now has to function as Topo’s eyes if she wants to retrieve the package and send Topo on his way.

A Bizarre Team Up

The dynamic between Topo and Chloe in Cold Comes the Night is unique because they both need each other. Topo needs visual assistance to complete his drop, and Chloe needs to find a way out of an impossible predicament. They agree to split the money if they can figure out a way to retrieve the package, but not without myriad complications that present themselves in the second and third acts.

Where Cold Comes The Night Fails

Cold Comes the Night has a lot of things going for it, but it also has a lot of problems. Though the third-act reveal works quite well, critics have criticized the film’s conclusion for lacking sophistication, as its many moving parts seemed like they were swept under the rug. For failing to stick the landing, Cold Comes the Night garnered a 44 percent critical score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Critics were also quick to criticize Cranston’s thick Russian accent and went so far as to say that he sounded like a bumbling cartoon character. Among the more positive reviews, both Bryan Cranston and Alice Eve were praised for their performances even though Cold Comes the Night fell flat on many other fronts.

Where To Stream The Movie

Though Cranston’s portrayal of Topo is a far cry from Walter White, he still delivers the goods in Cold Comes the Night. While it may not be his finest hour, his willingness to fully commit to a character is inspiring, to say the least. If you want to see what Cranston was doing with his time before heading into production on one of the greatest series finales TV has to offer, you can stream Cold Comes the Night for free on The Roku Channel right now.