Spoilers are late for practice.
Hear me out before you click away. It’s Blumhouse. I know they take all kinds and degrees of horror films, but I kind of stumbled into this one. I didn’t seem to be in the mood to watch anything, and ended up engrossed enough to watch the whole way through. There are diamonds in the rough, and this film is a bit rough but still has some worth performances. Honestly, this is familiar territory but I found the execution rather good and promising.
Nocturne (2020) was written and directed by Zu Quirke. Juliet Lowe (Sydney Sweeney) and her sister Vivian (Madison Iseman) attend a boarding school where they both train as classical pianists. Juliet has always lived her life in the shadow of her sister’s success. After another student commits suicide, Juliet accidentally gains access to her notebook where curious depictions seem to be interpretations of things to come. Gaining confidence and drive, Juliet starts to aim for bigger parts even entering direct competition against her sister. Opportunities start being offered to her, but at the cost of her grasp on reality.
This film is part of the horror series Welcome to Blumhouse produced by Blumhouse Productions. I don’t think you need to explicitly remember that last part, unless it does matter to you. I’d rather watch this as a standalone film, but I must confess it makes me curious about the other ones. All that being said, this was a recognizable psychological horror with supernatural tones but rather well done, with very decent cinematography and great direction. The theme of the art school, the classical arts, the possible devil worship angle and the nightmarish visions are all known horror elements, as is the sibling rivalry. I appreciate the fact that it’s not overdone.
The tone of the movie depends completely on the performance of Sydney Sweeney’s role as Juliet and she does sell the seething jealousy act as well as the quiet type willing to sell her soul for the spotlight. Madison Iseman, who plays Vivian “Vi”, does a great work as the favourite sister that seems oblivious to the hatred that her sister harbours. As it so happens with stories of sibling rivalries, the parents are not only blissfully ignorant, they actually contribute Juliet’s feelings of inadequacy with patronizing compliments.
Recommended with a reservation. It doesn’t necessarily do anything new, but it does it rather well enough that you can see a potential in its direction. I wouldn’t call it a new classic, but it’s rather well executed. The performance of the main cast is good, specially Sweeney who plays her role with a subdued but palpable anxiety. It’s not ground breaking, which it’s my main reservation. You won’t see anything new in the genre, but I found the storytelling engaging enough to keep me watching for its runtime. Worth a watch if you’re in the mood.
That will do for now.