Directed by: Patricio Valladares
Written by: Barry Keating and Milan Konjevic
Stars: Jason London, Robert Englund, Gianni Capaldi
Rating: TV-MA — Runtime: 1 hour 31 Minutes
Our Rating: ★★
My first statement about Nightworld is a bit off topic, I need to express how beautiful the city of Sophia, Bulgaria is and how it has been added to my list of places to visit. Well maybe I won’t stay in the area near the building in the film. We’ll get to that part soon. But, the beginning shots of Bulgaria are really nice.
As cliques go, ‘if it’s too easy I don’t want it.’ Well, actually that’s a misogynistic Tupac lyric. However, in this case Nightworld gives it a different and accurate meaning. We are introduced to Jeremy Landon’s character, Brett, who takes a job as security for a beautiful apartment building in Sophia. It appears to pretty much be an empty building, so of course he questions why he’s needed. The answer of course is vague because it’s a movie. The interior of the building is stunning with lots of great wood and stone work. Brett is simply told to check the building’s cameras and to contact Jacob if anything remotely suspicious happens. Jacob is played by horror icon Robert Englund. 👏🏾
Brett befriends the neighborhood coffee barista, Zara, who informs him of the odd happenings that have occurred inside of the apartment building over the years. After a few bumps in the night Brett starts to question what exactly is going on, because although the place appears empty the security cameras start to catch mysterious foot prints inside one of the storage hangers. Jacob warns Brett continuously to not go inside the hanger alone. Of course this makes the audience want to know why? From then on the already sinister building gets even stranger and even more sinister.
There is also a totally unnecessary “love” story between Brett and Zara, although the story attempts to be important later. After he tells her about the strange visions he is having Zara suggests he go talk to a therapist. She thinks Brett is just experiencing grief over the death of his wife. Speaking of that, the circumstance of the wife’s death is not completely explained. Jacob later confirms Brett’s suspicions; there is something extremely sinister about the apartment building. At first Brett does not fully believe Jacob’s tale, but of course everything continues to spiral further into the realm of crazy. Brett soon realizes he must do as Jacob says and help to restore the seal between reality and the Night World.
Nightworld is well meaning and really well made considering it’s an On Demand film, however the main story is so weak. The cast tries their best to work with the not fully fleshed out characters or storylines. Landon (Brett) doesn’t quite convince us of his great love for his wife, his interactions with the actress who plays Ana are wooden and chemistry free. In my opinion viewing more of the couples’ happier moments would have given us some significance of the circumstance of her death and make it seem more plausible. London is however, more believable as a former police officer. There is also an implausible moment in the last act of the film between Brett and Zara, where their extremely short relationship involves her making an unimaginable sacrifice. They tried to set the scene for this romance, but the courtship is so short there is no way Zara’s action match what happens on screen.
Unfortunately, even a horror icon cannot save this one. Englund does a solid job of being the good guy in this, but his story has so many unanswered questions. Jacob tells us he once had Brett’s job, but he fails to explain why he was chosen for this task in the first place. The Brett’s friend character is used as a poor plot device in the final act. The choice of using him to illustrate something Jacob could have simply explained was a terrible decision. It leaves you wondering why is he here? To increase the film’s body count, maybe?
Nightworld suffers from attempting to cram a few too many storylines and horror troupes into a short time frame. We have a moment where the film is clearly trying to blur the lines between making us think Brett is losing his mind in grief and the building is making him have visions. I think it’s a combination, however the handling is clumsy. The film also tries to be a ghost story at certain points. Brett literally goes to check where noises are coming. The idea of the Night World was only briefly explained, but it’s actually the main plot of the film. Unfortunately, its story is rushed. It is never explained if these Night World beings we see later are ghosts, zombies, demons, or what? There also seems to be a society who understands the workings of the Night World, but that’s never fully explained either.
Unfortunately, I have to say Nightworld is not something we advise you run out and watch. There was potential, but it fails on a few levels.
HorrorFatale says – “Skip it.”
Nightworld in select theaters and On Demand October 20.