Come Morning (2013)

3 Apr


Smith’s Verdict: ****

Reviewed by Tanner Smith

As I’m writing this review, it’s been a few days since I saw “Come Morning.” And I’m convinced that it’s one of those films that haunt you with not only how good it is but also how profound, effective, and unforgettable it is. It has a premise that sounds like a suitable idea for a tense thriller, and it’s easy to expect something exciting but also kind of generic. But not with “Come Morning.” It has its effective setup, it grabs you, and then it takes you where it wants to go.

The film is about 10-year-old D (Thor Wahlestedt) and his grandfather Frank (played wonderfully by Michael Ray Davis) who are on an afternoon hunting trip. The trip takes a tragic turn when D accidentally shoots and kills a trespassing neighbor. D wants Frank to call the authorities and explain what happened. But due to a long-running, complicated (and violent) feud between the two families, Frank knows that telling the other neighbors that the death was an accident won’t go well, and so he and D set out to bury the body deep in the woods.

The story occurs mostly in the woods and mostly at night, which creates an ongoing, effective, metaphorical visual for the narrative—the deeper into darkness the characters embark into, the more lost they become in their moralities. Things slowly but surely go more wrong as suddenly the realization of D’s accidental murder isn’t as relevant as what becomes revealed later with Frank. Some of his demons come back to haunt him, he runs into enemies from the past, and his actions causes him to consider his own morals and ethics as well as the loss of D’s innocence.

What really makes this whole film special is just how subtle it is. There is much revealed of the history between Frank’s family and the neighboring family, but hardly anything is spelled out for the audience. We just get visual storytelling, understated dialogue, and thought-provoking questions to interpret by the time the film is over. Without giving too much away, there isn’t just the guilt that D feels, but there’s more than Frank feels when it comes to facing his demons and trying to find ways out of the danger he put his family through; you can feel that he has had things happen that he can’t feel proud of and also can’t forgive himself for. It is also a damn good thriller; very suspenseful and becomes even more so as it continues.

Derrick Sims

Most of the praise for “Come Morning” unquestionably goes to Derrick Sims, who not only wrote and directed the film but also edited and photographed it. Not knowing another way to put this, I’ll say every move he makes for this film is the right one. There’s one particular scene in this film that spoke me in many ways as to just how great Sims was as a filmmaker; without giving too much away, it involves the final moment in a character’s life. It’s an amazingly effective scene that could have gone one of two ways and may have sunk the film. It went the other way and became the best scene in the film.

I also admire how he shot the film himself. It’s as if he had this vision in his head and just wouldn’t be satisfied unless he created it. And indeed, the cinematography is first-rate. I don’t know how he managed to create beautiful scenery when most of the film takes place in the wilderness in the dark, but he certainly did.

This is a great film; one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. That’s why it shocks me that while it had great reception at festivals (including the Oxford Film Festival, where it received the Jury Award for Best Cinematography), the film never got a real theatrical release. That’s a shame, because I can see a lot of people seeing “Come Morning” the same way I did: as an atmospheric, unforgettable, well-executed, haunting piece of art.

NOTE: “Come Morning” is available on DVD and BluRay, and can be purchased at


2 Responses to “Come Morning (2013)”


  1. Royal Film Festival Review: Come Morning (2013) | Made in Arkansas - September 11, 2014

    […] Review also appears on Smith’s Verdict: : […]

  2. Prepping for My Top 20 Films of the 2010s | Smith's Verdict - November 26, 2019

    […] Bone,” “Wildlife,” “Blue Ruin,” “Two Step,” “Come Morning,” “Gone […]

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