Exploitive and dumb. Night, the new horror feature from indie auteur Nicholas Michael Jacobs, telling an old story about a show business impresario trying to make a young lady into a star. Ok fine, he’s a serial killer, and he’s going to kill her on a live stream, but my point still stands. Filmed entirely in Creepyscope (the new innovative process guaranteed to make you feel like a creep) Night is a low rent exercise in excess.
Night begins, as all thrillers really should, with five minutes of the killer getting ready in what might be the longest five minutes in movie history. You rarely see him, you just hear him scuffling off-camera, and occasionally he will just meander into frame. Finally, we see his masked face looking into the camera and saying, “Here we go.” Now let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he’s trying to build suspense? Maybe he’s trying to create a mood? Or maybe, just maybe, he left the camera running and forgot to edit that part out.
“…tells an old story about a show business impresario trying to make a young lady into a star…”
Night then shifts to his perspective as he stalks a teenage girl and eventually grabs her. Forcing us into the perspective of the killer is an old horror movie trick and can be quite effective. Just not here. It’s only done once and only for a short time. The rest of the film is told from a static perspective. So the one-time shift doesn’t really make sense. Unless we’re meant to believe he was wearing a GoPro over his mask and just wandering the city. Which, come one, is a funny image to picture.
Once back at his apartment, he gets a call from a mysterious female who wants him to stop. She tells him that eventually he’ll get caught and even suggests some form of reconciliation between them if he gives it up. But, he refuses and hangs up. So, this mysterious woman, who knows about his “hobby,” tries to get him to stop, but isn’t calling the cops? I understand that a little bit of mystery can be good for a movie and that not everything needs to be explained, but this feels like a huge leap of logic for Night to take.
Filming in low light can create a mood, create a sense of dread, hide the flaws in your set, or just obscure what is happening on screen and piss off your viewers. I trust from the context of this piece. You can figure out what Mr. Jacobs did in his film.
“Forty straight minutes of the Director/Star torturing a teenage girl punctuated by bad dialog…”
Quick tip to would-be filmmakers out there—try some sound effects. That might cover up the spring sounds of the cheap costume shop knife you bought. Boing boing boing isn’t the sound a knife makes when plunged into flesh. I’m guessing.
Night is a fine example of the worst aspects of Grand Guignol. Focusing on the exploitive excess, instead of the exploration of darker themes, Night is little more than amateur torture porn. Forty straight minutes of the Director/Star torturing a literal teenage girl punctuated by bad dialog and acting. Forty minutes of him showing us a weak, bargain-basement version of the work of Eli Roth.
Give this one a miss.
"…filming in low light can create a mood, create a sense of dread"