SXSW 2022: Gone in the Night (The Cow)

Directed by: Eli Horowitz
Distributed by: TBD

Written by Taylor Baker


“Gone in the Night” is an ugly derivative amalgamation of boring directorial choices with a cast of established names who have nothing to do. The screenplay is a one-note riff on the basic foundation of Eli Horowitz’s previous notable creation the podcast ‘Homecoming’ which spawned a television adaptation at Prime Video starring Julia Roberts in its inaugural season and Janelle Monáe in its follow up. Something happens and someone else has to puzzle it out. The film begins with a low-grade supercut of trees meant to mirror the drive Winona Ryder’s Kath and her boyfriend Max (John Gallagher Jr.) take to a distant cabin in the woods. When they arrive at the cabin they’d booked they find a couple is already settled in and staying for the night. An argument ensues until eventually all parties yield and Kath at Max’s urging agrees to stay the night and share the cabin with this young couple.

After playing a board game that evening with their new acquaintances Kath goes to bed, and when she awakes she finds she’s all alone. She wanders the property for an indiscriminate amount of time until she happens upon Al (Owen Teague) who informs her that Max disappeared with his girlfriend Greta (Brianne Tju). Hurt, she leaves in her station wagon. Kath then becomes suspicious that she never saw or heard from Max again after that evening, so she reaches out to the owner of the rental that they stayed in to get Greta’s information and find out what happened to Max. As I previously mentioned what ensues is a mostly ridiculous high conspiracy plotline that plays out exactly as you might imagine. And while the material at some level would be enjoyable as an 80-page airport novella, there is an unrelenting voice in one’s head that won’t let you forget that the talent would be better served on nearly any other project.

Horowitz’s debut feature is sadly dated and one-note. This is a shame because there is a level of sincerity and earnestness apparent in his work, he wants to give the audience an experience. If he tries going a different direction than a character study conspiracy with his next project, written, audio, film, or television I’d be happy to give him another chance.

“Gone in the Night” was screened as part of the 2022 edition of the SXSW Film Festival.

You can follow more of Taylor’s thoughts on film on LetterboxdTwitter, and Rotten Tomatoes.

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