IMDb Rating: 5.6/10
NR |1h 30min | Horror, Mystery | 13 Oct 2020 (Canada) | Movie
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 54 % Rotten (Critic reviews) | 38 % Rotten (Audience reviews)
Director: Zu Quirke
Writer: Zu Quirke
Stars: Sydney Sweeney, Madison Iseman, Jacques Colimon
IMDb summary: An incredibly gifted pianist makes a Faustian bargain to overtake her older sister at a prestigious institution for classical musicians.
Mentioning the word “Faustian” in the synopsis might draw the initial viewer in. But then you realise half-way through that calling this film in any way “Faustian” was a huge misdirection probably aimed at getting people to watch it.
We’ve worked our way through the three Blumhouse releases this week, and this film is definitely the weakest in the group. The Lie was a lot more dramatic and well-acted while the Black Box was strange, intimidating and a little shocking. I’m not getting any of those feelings for this piece at all, and that’s not a good thing.
I’m not going to preach about how movies should make you “feel” something because one reason we all watch movies is to be transported out of our reality and into something else for a while. So it’s obvious that process involves feeling and emotion. And unfortunately, those feelings can also cover the other end of the spectrum which includes uninspired and cliched.
The basic premise of this film focuses on a sibling rivalry that just seems too familiar and “cookie-cutter” to me. The thought of a sibling rivalry that includes one of those siblings giving her soul to the “devil” so she can win a piano competition is just too far-fetched. And I’m all for giving something a chance. Not all movies start well, and that’s one reason you just need to stick it out.
But Nocturne never really gains momentum. It’s almost like watching a runner lose their wind half-way through the race to fall over and limp the rest of the way to the end. That’s really not what you want in a movie – not if you want to be entertained.
The acting side of things seems a little better than the story (which has holes in it a mile wide). Sydney Sweeney from Euphoria fame delivers an outstanding performance as the sister who is knocking on the Devils door. She is the driving force behind the film and seems to carry it most of the way. Sometimes you just need to bite the bullet and get the task done, which she does.
The biggest flaw this film has is how the “devil” is brought into the girls’ lives because of another girl’s tryst with the dark one that ends her life. First off, teen suicide is nothing to poke a stick at. And while they integrate this plot point into a fictional story, it just didn’t have the impact it should have had. Perhaps that’s because we know that the girl died because of giving her soul to the evil one. And that all seems a little lame.
This isn’t the worst film I’ve seen this year but there are plenty of other way more engaging horror films (and TV series) out there right now such as The Haunting of Bly Manor which we will review in full on our podcast later this week.