Nocturne is the magnificent feature-length debut by British director Zu Quirke. The horror movie has been released on Amazon Prime as part of the Welcome to the Blumhouse series of original, dark films. Set in the classical music department of a performing arts academy, Nocturne tells the story of Juliet (Sydney Sweeney), a young woman who sacrificed her teen years honing her skills as a pianist, only to be locked under the shadow of her gifted twin sister, Vivian (Madison Iseman). Juliet comes across a notebook owned by the school’s most talented student who had committed suicide before she graduated, filled with arcane scrawls and mysterious pictures of rituals with the final page ripped out. Juliet further studies the notebook, and her pursuit for greatness away from her sister leads to the performance of a piece of classical music called “The Devil’s Trill.” A deep descent into a sea of darkness ensues.
Nocturne is one of the best new horror movies of the 21st century, one that could hold its own with the classic scary movies of the 20th. If classic horror movies hung around with each other watching horror movies, they would be watching this movie. The Exorcist would call up The Shining and say, “whoa, you gotta come over and see this!” Then it’d call Dawn of the Dead and Black Christmas and ask if they have heard from Videodrome lately because it’s time for the old gang to get back together for beers, White Widow, and to watch Nocturne. They also wouldn’t answer the door when the damn kids knocked, as they would be too busy inside the house screaming.
“…the performance of a piece of classical music called ‘The Devil’s Trill.’ A deep descent into a sea of darkness ensues.”
Please take a look at the official poster of Nocturne. It’s the really cool one with the upside face with tears of blood flowing upwards. It’s not often we see great posters anymore, the kind that catches your eye and fills you with a sense of wonder. The reason we don’t is back in the day, the poster art was usually better than the movies themselves, especially during the mid to late 1980s when older content was released with amazing art for junkyard pictures, such as E.T.N. The Extra-Terrestrial Nasty. So for Nocturne to show up with a poster that is so scary looking sets the bar high, as it gives off an eerie aura. You can be assured this horror movie lives up to the poster and then some. It is that good.
The first thing that jumped out while the picture was unfolding was how good the editing is, which is not usually something that raises eyebrows. There are connections with the music and images melting into each other and fading to new scenes that seamlessly work together to form a collage-esque style. Hats off to editor Andrew Drazek, whose work I want to look further into, like Z Nation and Black Summer.
"…light and sounds intensify with glowing primary colors blinding your eyes and deafening your ears."