By Scott Knopf | February 21, 2012

Struggling with debt, Eli Gottfried (Kevin Maggard) picks up a graveyard shift at Stafford Stoneworks, the small fabrication shop where he works. He’s fighting to support his wife, Ellie (Rachel Brady), stay right side up on his mortgage, and keep his car running. Eli has enough problems without recurring nightmares making things worse. It’s hard to keep focus when hallucinations of body-hauling and illustrated cats are keeping you on edge.

And if that wasn’t enough, Harold (Wescott Youngson), Stafford’s least-pleasant employee, gets injured on the job on the same night that Jeremy (Weaver), a stranded fast-talker, barges into the shop and butts himself into Eli’s business. But even with all this on his shoulders, the young kid keeps a cool demeanor and refuses to freak out about his situation. He keeps his Southern calm even after he learns something dark about his plant’s new visitor.

Produced for under $10,000, The Nocturnal Third has raised the bar for low-budget filmmaking. Writer/director Benjamin Stark has helmed an impressive and entertaining thriller for next to nothing. The film has a great look, with eye-catching locales, captivating characters, and tight writing. The performances range from stiff to enthralling, with the majority leaning towards the latter. Maggard and Weaver carry most of the film, swapping believable dialogue as the film slowly builds to a boil.

I couldn’t write this review without mentioning the score. It might be the best part of the film. The tense synths sound like they were pulled straight from the coolest 80s soundtracks. And for some reason, it completely complements the cinematography and the film’s slightly dated look. Stylistically, you’d never guess that it was made for so little. This is a really cool, totally awesome, rad movie with so much going for it. It’s worth multiple viewings and if the action was just more kick a*s then there’s a good chance it could gain some cult buzz.

This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.

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