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Entertainment Reviews

31 Days of Reviews: Nocturne (2020)

A timid music student discovers a notebook belonging to a recently deceased classmate. She soon develops new personality traits and begins to outshine her more outgoing sister.

Nocturne is a 2020 supernatural horror film, directed by Zu Quirke in her directorial debut. It stars Sydney Sweeney (Euphoria) and Madison Iseman (Annabelle Comes Home), with supporting roles played by Ivan Shaw (Insecure), Julie Benz (Dexter), Jacques Coliman (The Society), Brandon Keener (The Purge: Anarchy), and JoNell Kennedy.

This film was released as part of the Welcome to Blumhouse horror collaboration with Amazon Prime.

I generally think that horror movies that use the arts as a medium to tell a story have a lot of potential. Pursuit of the arts can be incredibly draining and require a lot of sacrifice. This can be illustrated and exploited in so many ways with the horror genre. This film is no different. Nocturne has a lot of potential.

This film does do a decent job of portraying that pain and sacrifice. It borrows a lot of the same feelings from Whiplash and Black Swan, from the struggle of aiming for perfection that can never truly be perfect to spending your life in the never ending knowledge that you could be better. It’s a miracle that we all don’t crack. I felt this tension in a lot of the camera work and editing choices.

I found the opening sequence of this film truly captivating. It set the tone and gave enough mystery to get me asking questions. It put me into the moment instantly, blending music and an inner darkness. I hoped that the rest of the film would follow suit. I can’t say that it did for the most part.

The biggest issue that I had with this film, and the reason that I ended up not enjoying it, is that I never connected with the main character. There just isn’t enough there for me to get to know who she is in order to care about the plight that she finds herself in. I’m not fully sure if it’s the performance or the script that causes this, but I really wasn’t engaged.

This made me feel that everything started happening too fast. I would have appreciated a bit more lead up before the main character starts falling under the spell of this mysterious book. Things definitely escalate quickly.

As it stands, I felt no connection and didn’t have any feelings toward her conflict. This continued through the end of the film. This is unfortunate. I was hoping to enjoy this one.

Even though I feel this way, I think this film still has some promise for others. As I mentioned above, it does have a lot of similar elements to films like Whiplash and Black Swan. The story might not be told as elegantly as those films, but if you liked those, there’s a chance you might enjoy this one too.

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