It’s one of the oldest stereotypes of war, backed up, I suppose, by reams of anecdotal evidence, that a dying soldier will call out for his mother. (I wonder if that’s true for female soldiers as well. I guess, fortunately, the evidence isn’t in yet on that one yet.) If so, someone forgot to tell Brook (Robert Stevens) the rule. Badly wounded in a firefight with the Germans, Brook is in pretty rough shape. His buddies Goodman (Linden Daleck) and Hanson (Joe Caliguire) half-drag, half-carry him into an old barn where the three of them hide out, trapped behind enemy lines.
Yet, soon, Brook’s not so sure of his comrades. Told that the phones are dead, he catches them communicating with the outside world nonetheless and whispering conspiratorially between themselves. Then, too, the mysterious, well-stocked room hidden beneath the floor of the barn rouses the wounded soldier’s suspicions. But has Brook stumbled onto his “buddies'” traitorous plot, or is his paranoia simply the product of a pain-addled brain?
Beats me, which is the frustrating beauty of “Nightfall.” Director Tim Clark’s gripping short film distills the horrors and high drama of history’s greatest conflict into these three GIs’ murky little mini-drama. Motives are as unclear as reality in “Nightfall,” which, despite its setting, is suffused with more of a horror film’s creepiness than a war film’s action ethos.
The film is a little too disjointed; a little too murky, if you ask me, but it’s a fairly effective thriller nonetheless. If dying soldiers experience even a fraction of the delirium Brook experiences, it’s no wonder they cry out for their mothers at the end.