A hunting trip turns tragic for Frank (Michael Ray Davis) and grandson D (Thor Wahlestedt) in Derrick Sims’ feature film Come Morning. Despite protestations from his wife Morigan (Elise Rovinsky) that it is too late in the day to go hunting, Frank takes his young grandson out anyway. When the deer they thought they killed winds up being a trespassing neighbor, Frank enlists D to help him dispose of the body.
Due to the complicated and violent history between the two neighboring families, rather than go to the cops and report the accident, Frank considers covering up the situation as the best course of action. Unfortunately for Frank and D, their lives only get more complicated and, for D specifically, an unwelcome family feud that he inherited will become all the more prevalent in his life before the evening is through.
Come Morning is an atmospheric thriller that lets all the suspense build under the surface. Just as Morigan is convinced that Frank should postpone the hunt, so too does that “not right” feeling invade the audience as Frank and D trek deeper into the woods to get rid of the body. A visual that is maybe a bit too on-the-nose (deeper they go, the more lost in a moral wilderness they become), it is nonetheless effective.
It’s also a tragic tale of a seemingly never ending cycle of violence between the two neighboring families. It may be an unfortunate accident that claims the life of Marion Mitchell (Thomas Moore), but as the film rolls along it seems that it isn’t one that is all that surprising. In fact, as more of the history between the neighbors is revealed, specifically the personal impact on Frank and D, you can’t help but feel that Frank’s sadness and guilt has more to do with the immediate danger he has put his family in, and what it will mean for D, more so than any feelings for the fate of his victim.
Come Morning is a very good-looking film, with exceptional cinematography, especially when you consider how much takes place in the woods in the dark of night. Strong editorially, the film moves at just the right speed for its under-the-surface, quiet intensity. It is also elevated by an appropriately foreboding score, when the moment requires. I honestly can’t think of anything, technically, that is subpar, or could be improved.
In the end, Come Morning succeeds on the strength of a simple narrative with personal dynamic complexities that reveal themselves slowly. The fact that it’s an old man and his grandson trying to sweep up an accidental murder makes for an intriguing spin on the basic plot, adding even more depth. When will the violence end, considering it persists even when unintended?
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