The Hidden Sci-Fi Gem That's Crushing It On Amazon Prime

Looking for something to take your mind off of the terrifying state of the world? Why not try some well-regarded speculative fiction on the terrifying state of other worlds? Amazon Prime, Jeff Bezos' way of asking Tinder dates if they want to him and chill, is currently streaming an indie feature titled The Vast of Night, and brother? That puppy is tearing it up, critical reception-wise.

The movie comes from first-time director Andrew Patterson and freshman writers Craig W. Sanger and James Montague, making its current 91% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes all the more spectacular. The Vast of Night is creatively presented as an episode of a fictional Twilight Zone-esque anthology show, Paradox Theater. The setup: when Everrett, a radio DJ in 1950s New Mexico, has his radio broadcast interrupted by a mysterious signal, he and his friend Fay (Sierra McCormick) head decide to investigate, winding up in the requisite otherworldly peril.

Art imitates life?

The success of an original story told on a shoestring budget in the age of Marvel movies notwithstanding, one of the most interesting aspects of the film is its inspiration: purported actual close encounters.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, director Andrew Patterson cited a number of incidents that bled into The Vast of Night. Of particular interest to him was an event known as "the Kecksburg Incident." The long and short of it, as described by Patterson: in 1965, "a car-sized, acorn-shaped device dropped out of the sky" just outside of Pittsburgh "and a local DJ started getting calls." Sonic booms were registered and witnesses from across the area claimed to have seen a fireball descend from the heavens. A thorough sweep by the Air Force later and the official story became "nothing was ever found." Other inspirations included the Foss Lake disappearances of 1969, as well as other conspiracy theories.

The Vast of the Night is currently available to stream on Amazon Prime.