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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Family Night

Survive the Night (2020) on IMDb

Plot Overview

A full moon shines bright in Georgia portending a busy night for the police and hospitals. At a Country Clinic an accident victim has just been treated by their on-call doctor Richard (Chad Michael Murray) a surgeon trans­planted from a big city hospital. The Granger boys trail him home to get some off-the-radar treatment for the brother Matthias (Tyler Jon Olson) injured in a stickup.

With his family in tow, the doctor has moved in with his father Frank “Pops” (Bruce Willis) on account of having lost an uncontested malpractice suit. He conceded the case rather than put his family through years of litigation. Frank had a different set of priorities judging from his spacious house on a big spread with a muscle car in the barn.

Nobody wants to hurt anybody. The doctor is a healer who'd just as soon get on with it and send the brothers on their way to the relief of his family. The brother Jamie (Shea Buckner) just wants to look after his bro Matty, his threats not­with­standing. The father is a retired sheriff who regards with suspicion the “scum” who have invaded his house—and already done some damage. Living in the country, being in law enforcement, the whole family knowing how to hunt, and now forced to entertain armed criminals, they have lots of weapons available in the house. It's likely not all will survive the night.


hymn singerThis is not a religious flick per se, to be spoon fed to an expectant audience, but the psalms are widely appreciated and some have been made into songs, having recognizable lyrics. Psalm 50 was an attempt to disabuse a herding people of the notion that animal sacrifices were meant to satiate the appetite of a hungry God. A portion saying God “owns the cattle on a thousand hills” might be recognizable in a modern hymn: (Psalm 50:9-11) “I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he goats out of thy folds. For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.” In the movie we see herds of cattle, sheep grazing on a distant hill, a couple deer from the forest, winged fowl in sea gulls, a rooster crowing, and an anticipated quail season. All these belong to God according to the psalm.

Rather than material donations, God wants our hearts: (Psalm 50:12-15) “If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Offer unto God thanks­giving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” There is much the family suffering hard times has to be thankful for, and that should remind us, too. As for vows, the doctor had taken an oath to do no harm, so he had to treat the injured man in the irregular circumstance he found him­self. He couldn't return to the clinic for his doctor tools, but his “old college tools” in storage would suffice. A scalpel is still a scalpel. Similarly, we may remember our promises and commitments made from our King James Version (KJV) with­out having to update the language with a modern one. Old Pops needs his wife Rachel (Jessica Abrams) to remind him of things, because, “I can't even remember where my socks are with­out you.” We on our part need the familiarity of the KJV to jog our memory.

The psalm seems to be an indictment against the slew of modern English Bible translations that beset us, and the movie has a parallel as well. The KJV of 1611 was an amalgamation of the several English translations available at the time, bringing out the best in each but not sacrificing familiar wording. The more modern replace­ments require a copy­right in order for their publishers to make a suit­able gain. To be legally copy­righted a work must be substantially different from all existing works, viz the KJV. That means time and again through­out the whole book very serviceable expressions must be reworded to get the monetary profit but at the expense of the memory of the faithful. It's as author Louis Auchincloss puts it:

[I]n the modern world there was no law but that of the market, no right but that of the strong. The irresistible and unresisted materialism of the day was a flooding river that had penetrated every fissure and cranny of [the] world, inundating poor and rich, unions and manage­ment, the most popular enter­tain­ment and the greatest art. (10)

car stopIn the movie the brothers stopped their get­away car to check the valise holding their take to find they had “more than we need” to retire to destination Mexico. An impulsive petty robbery along the way could only leave bread crumbs for the cops to follow and might result in injury. The psalm echoes that surplus and is applicable to Bible translating. (Psalm 50:16-17) “But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? Seeing thou hatest instruction, and casteth my words behind thee.” More on Psalm 50 dealing with the summary rejection of the KJV is touched upon in other of my reviews.

Production Values

” (2020) was directed by Matt Eskandari. It appears to be the first attempt for writer Doug Wolfe. It stars Bruce Willis, Chad Michael Murray, and Shea Buckner. We saw decent performances especially from Chad Michael Murray as the good doctor. Bruce Willis was aged grace­fully into his role of retired sheriff.

MPAA rated it R for violence, bloody images and language through­out. The daughter Riley (Riley Wolfe Rach) was checked by her mom at the table for her (attempted) use of an improper expression. The cinema­tog­raphy passed general muster but washed out in the outdoor, night scenes. The music seemed intrusive more than anything.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

This was a run-of-the-mill B-action film shot in 10 days in Columbus, GA. It came together hap­hazardly, but one can connect the dots if he's on his toes. The characters' back­grounds are implied through their conversations. At any rate it's better than TV. The villains dress the part. The women need protecting. The law­man is a movie star. You'll enjoy it if your expectations are not too high.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Decent action scenes. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Well, at least you can't see the strings. Video Occasion: Better than watching TV. Suspense: Don't watch this movie alone. Overall movie rating: Three stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Auchincloss, Louis. “The Tender Offer.” In Jay Wishingrad, editor. Legal Fictions: Short Stories About Lawyers and the Law. Copyright © 1992 by The Estate of Jay Wishingrad. Woodstock, New York: Overlook Press, 1992. Print.