An exciting old-fashioned UFO film from an exciting new filmmaker.
The Vast of Night
Director: Andrew Patterson
Screenplay: James Montague, Craig W. Sanger
Cast: Sierra McCormick (Ramona and Beezus), Jake Horowitz (A Midsummer’s Night Dream)
Runtime: 1h 29 m
By: John DeSando
“Flying saucers are real. Too many good men have seen them, that don’t have hallucinations.” Captain Eddie Rickenbacker
Around the ‘50s, pop culture became serious about the possibility of alien visitation and its love child, abduction. The spirit was forever enshrined in Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone and Stephen Spielberg’s Close Encounters of a Third Kind, about as good as it will ever get for fantasy and humanity wrapped in UFO vibes.
For the stunning new online fantasy drama, The Vast of Night, set in the early fifties, a strange sound comes over the airwaves of a small radio station in New Mexico. To the rescue are 16-year old switchboard operator Fay (Sierra McCormick) and charismatic young announcer Everett (Jake Horowitz), who spend time tracking down the sound and the invaders.
Toward the beginning, when Jake and Fay are gossiping, new director Andrew Patterson does a brilliant job of bringing his characters into Howard Hawkes’ wacky world of screwball repartee, this wacky romanticism sounds familiar, then join the millions of seniors who today become immediately nostalgic about the groundbreaking Orson Welles version of War of the Worlds.
New director Andrew Patterson expertly guides today’s The Vast of Night into that twilight zone of giddy exploration and imagination with an innocence and quickening pace reminiscent of the past. He is adept at cranking up the tension as we learn of missing persons and hear from a survivor of the sound some 60 years ago.
Although visually the adventure is nowhere near the splashy sci-fi films of days past, Vast has an excitement to match its conceit, a youthful energy best exemplified early on when Fay and Everett bandy about the sound and their plan to pursue it. In their unbridled optimism rests our lingering love of sci fi and imagination.
“Saucers exist (I saw two). They were intelligently flown or operated (evasive tactics, formation flight, hovering). They were mechanisms, not United States weapons, nor Russian. I presume they are extraterrestrial.”
Lt. Colonel Richard Headrick, radar bombing expert, 1959
Cinema Classics will review this exciting new work on its June 18 show.
John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at JohnDeSando62@gmail.com.