Writer/Director Richard Zelniker’s As Night Comes crackles with adolescent urgency and the simmering frustrations of teenage alienation. Having recently moved across the country to L.A., Sean (Myko Olivier) is an outsider, a small fish unable to negotiate the strong and deadly currents of his inner city high school, until the tide washes him toward the shark-like Ricky (Luke Baines). Being the king of the high school’s emo tribe, Ricky has a social cache that Sean can only dream of, and he soon falls under Ricky’s charismatic spell. Our Ricky has a chip on his shoulder, though. A bitterness not only towards the unspeakable jocks who pick on his black clad bunch of buds, but the adult world too, who ‘never think about new generations’, and for whom Ricky demands ‘extreme action to end their corruption’. What are you rebelling against, Ricky? What ya got?! Full Review
The Movie Waffler
Writer/director Richard Zelniker brings us a throwback to the angsty teen movies of the 90s with his latest movie As Night Comes. It's jocks versus goths as good boy Sean Holloway falls in with a group of outcasts who seem to get a kick out of causing trouble. But as Halloween approaches things start to spiral out of control and Sean finds himself caught up in a night of violence and mayhem. Luke Baines as bad-boy Ricky Gladstone and Myko Olivier as good-boy Sean Holloway create a watchable combination. This is a world where adults are largely absent and teens live each day as their last. If you like your boys troubled, moody, and wearing lots of guy-liner, then this is going to be your kind of movie. - Full Review
Gay Star News
In a time where Anti-bullying is being taken as a very serious matter, the new movie AS NIGHT COMES; hopes to bring the matter home for a more serious look. While avoiding gratuitous violence, this film is a timely look at an epidemic problem today. Every once in a while, a movie leaves you feeling a little disturbed, a little haunted, and the characters stay with you long after you’ve left the theater. Richard Zelniker’s gritty high school indie film, AS NIGHT COMES, does just that. Full Review
Live Video Inc.
A provocative independent film, worthy of parents and teens alike, Richard Zelniker’s gritty High School thriller, AS NIGHT COMES is remarkably timely and relevant to the world we live in today while also paying homage to such classics as Clockwork Orange and The Outsiders.Avoiding clichés and filled with a weighty truth, the story is seen through the eyes of angst-filled teenagers struggling to find their identities and place in teen culture, As Night Comes is a powerful, eye-opening, beautifully structured tapestry of images that will hopefully begin a much needed conversation. Featuring a talented ensemble cast of “ones to watch” including Luke Baines (The Ever After), Myko Olivier (Castle), Evanne Friedmann (iCarly), Stacia Hitt (Neighbors) and Jesse Kove (Bunyan), As Night Comes follows troubled new kid, Sean Holloway, who falls in with a group of teenage outcasts called ‘The Misfits’ and under the wing of its dysfunctional yet charismatic leader, Ricky. On the eve of Halloween, Ricky’s anarchist plan for revenge spirals out of control, culminating in brutal violence, and ultimately Sean’s fight for survival and freedom. Full Review
Starring Luke Baines (The Ever After), Myko Oliver (Castle), Evanne Friedmann (iCarly), and Stacia Hitt (Neighbors), As Night Comes is a dark look into how the pressures to fit in always come with a price — especially in high school. The film centers around Sean Holloway — a new kid who gets caught up with a group of outcast teenagers who call themselves ‘The Misfits,’ led by miscreant Ricky. The night before Halloween, Ricky’s evil spirited nature gets the best of him, spiraling the gang out of control, leading to a world of destruction that Sean has to navigate away from at the risk of his own life. Luke Baines, who plays the mentally disturbed Ricky, says, “It’s not your average teen film —there’s a darkness and rawness that I think is very reflective of the real world. I don’t think there’s one specific message for people to walk away with. For some, it will be purely entertainment, for others a cathartic experience to relive their high school lives from an empowered place, but hopefully it will make people think more about the incredibly intense pressures that high school inflicts up adolescents, and perhaps rethink how we address people with mental health issues.” Full Review
With its nod to Clockwork Orange, AS NIGHT COMES, directed by Richard Zelniker, avoids every cliche and cheap trick, instead forcing us inside the pain, fear and excruciating confusion that lives inside so many people today. It doesn't look "at" a social issue and offer a glossy solution. It demands that we feel the desperation of its trapped protagonists. Who is the hero and who is the villain? No easy answer there either. We all have a voice. A passionate, but weary English teacher (portrayed with such humanity by Moe Irvin) offers a path. Shakespeare. Poetry. But this writer, director, producers and stunning cast walk us down that path and lead the way for every kid, parent, citizen, human asking not just "Why did another kid take a gun to school?" and "Why did another horrific killing happen?" The pain is intolerable. The fear is constant. And the answers too quiet and too late. AS NIGHT COMES opens a much needed conversation. No. It demands it from a roof top.
And about that director, Richard Zelniker found a soft-spoken boy with a volcano inside of him and put that voice on screen. Where so many filmmakers today rely on horrific violence, gore and external terror to hold our attention, Zelniker somehow makes us feel every painful moment without ever taking the easy way out. An adult film about childhood agony that reveals itself so exquisitely, you are left shaken to the core without one "shock shot". Like The Hurt Locker, your heart is in your mouth from the first five minutes through the final exhale. Beautifully photographed, the images are terrifying and haunting in the best way. How does a film that never jolts you with that sudden scream keep you so wrapped? Zelniker and his cast jolt us awake. Complacency is not an option. Helter Skelter, Clockwork Orange, and The Outsiders have a companion for the shelf. I really didn't want to, but Zelniker made me look.
And now I can't close my eyes.
Just returned from a distributor screening of [the] new film: AS NIGHT COMES, at Technicolor.
Disturbing, uncomfortable, and uplifting all at the same time.
There is no "protagonist" anywhere among this great young cast that features Luke Baines as the deeply dysfunctional leader of a group dubbed "The Misfits" and Myko Olivier as the Misfits' apparent "odd-man out." As the Misfits pre-Halloween rampage escalates from petty crime through the gamut of assault, battery, arson and murder Olivier's Sean Holloway provides a reluctant counterpoint of conscience to Baines' Ricky Gladstone, who grows more and more fond of the havoc as the plot unfolds. We eventually see them both as different sides of the same very tarnished coin - one "redeemable," the other irretrievably lost in the mire. In the end, we're not quite sure which is which.
The lighting and camera work for this piece give the impression you are viewing a live Hieronymus Bosch painting; simultaneously fascinating, scary, beautiful, repellent, and symbolic. Whether deliberately or not, the many odd points of view, and the disjointed compelling images put one in mind of Kubrick (Clockwork Orange) and some of the disorienting images in Hitchcock's films.
The production values on the film are awesome! It looks more like a 20 million dollar film than a film made for what I know it was made for.
I saw this movie in a distributor screening. Here's hoping someone picks this up so that others can enjoy it too. The last time I had a similar feeling about a pre-release showing was a few years ago… the film was Gods and Monsters. I left that one thinking "too bad it doesn't have distribution and we are the only audience that will see it" too. Hope AS NIGHT COMES does just as well!
Steven J. Roy
Richard, congrats on a film of great social significance as well as entertainment. The sign of a great movie is how it can influence your thinking well after seeing it. I reflect on my own high school days and I even reached out to some old friends and re-socialized. Privilege being part of your film. It's not just a movie. It's a lesson in life and a tool to mend past mistakes!
Deeply moved by the message of this movie and impressed with everyone's work. Masterfully acted, directed, edited, filmed, proud to have been a part of it and looking so forward to the message helping young people who are seeking their own answers in this troubling world as well as myself who ended up reflecting and reaching out to people from 30 years ago and mending some fences. We all choose sides, sometimes by choice, sometimes by necessity. AS NIGHT COMES is a brilliant film about how hard those choices can be and how those choices can effect you 3 decades later. Congrats to everyone! This film is not merely entertainment. It's a tool to help save a society that's lost its course.
Richard Zelniker's latest indie-flick AS NIGHT COMES is a tale about a troubled teen (Myko Olivier) who gets in over his head with a group of social outcasts whose petty crime pranks escalate into a nightmare of disturbing violence. Zelniker's solid direction gave the movie a very gritty and fluid feel and Olivier handled the complex lead role well and has great potential. The film also has commercial potential and was very enjoyable…feeling like a modern-day homage to cult movies like A Clockwork Orange and The Warriors – I look forward to seeing what Zelniker offers next.