Movie Review: Every night’s “The Long Night” with horror this unoriginal

Well, I’m fresh out of new ways to say “derivative,” “recycled,” “cut-and-pasted” and for old schoolers, “photocopied” or “carbon copy” about a movie without an original thought or image in its makeup.

Looking for suggestions, as “The Long Night” pretty much runs one through the more common possibilities in the first act.

Where’ve we see a city couple menaced by monstrous cultish figures in black cowls with deer, ram, etc. skulls as their head-covering? Where HAVEN’T we seen that?

“Antlers” was merely the one with the big name cast. But I feel as if I see some version of this sort of primeval, nature-worshipping of flesh-craving menace at least once a month.

There’s very little to recommend this Scout Taylor-Compton (“Runaways” is the best rated credit on her resume) and Nolan Gerard Funk (“Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare”) as the New Yorkers who trek “down South” where the Spanish moss hangs off the live oaks and those “redneck art” thingies on the side of the road are “totems” to what they quickly figure out is “some kind of a cult, skinhead or Klan gang.”

Try “snakes.” Because there are a lot of those. Not in the costumes of the cult, mind you. But that’s nitpicking.

Grace has come South to “find out who my family is.” She was a foster child, and there’s a local who claims to have dug up some history. Businessman/Princeton alumnus Jack figures he owes her because he didn’t “stick up for me” when he introduced her to his rich family.

Their phones go staticky, the night turns gloomy and all these dudes wearing animal heads show up with their torches, their pentagrams, their animal mutilation and their supernatural hold over the couple and the one local (veteran character actor Jeff Fahey) who might intervene on their behalf.

There’s one good joke, the punchline to a guys-meet-and-have-a-“Quien es mas macho?” moment.

Deborah Kara Unger shows up, face-painted to hide the embarrassment .

And there are a couple of effective moments, a chill here and there, a canted camera that captures Grace’s possession by whatever “snake” this cult worships.

For those looking for cheaper thrills, there’s a slo-mo pandering moment of nudity later on. Kudos to the star or her body double, there, I guess.

Taylor-Compton also manages the bellow guttural screams at every threat, every exertion, every moment of fear or vengeance Grace experiences. No. Mean. Feat.

The movie before and after that signature nude scene isn’t titillating or the least bit entertaining. But when you’re seemingly reusing costumes from a dozen other animist cult pictures, that was always going to be too much to hope for.

Rating: R (Violence|Language|Some Disturbing Images|Nudity)

Cast: Scout Taylor-Compton, Nolan Gerard Funk, Jeff Fahey and Deborah Kara Unger.

Credits: Directed by Rich Ragsdale, scripted by Robert Sheppe and Mark Young. A Well Go USA film on Shudder.

Running time: 1:30

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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