Horror-locker Movie Review: NOCTURNE


“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” – Francis Quarles

Welcome to the Blumhouse Presents: NOCTURNE

Anything left unchecked can become a hindrance and worse no matter how it’s origins came about. Something as important as exercise can become an addiction if left unrestrained as it begins to wear the body down rather than build it up as was the original intention. A cookie, so delectable and inviting is a pebble just waiting to be tripped on, a pebble I think a lot of us have stumbled over at some point in our lives. The desire for greatness, left unbridled can lead to horrendous, irreversible consequences. Depending on how far a person takes things this desire can lead to alienation and resentment, hatred and retribution. Nocturne is an exploration into the question: If you had a little help reaching your goals, would you accept no matter who offers the helping hand? Sometimes the one with the kindest face in the room is the one to fear the most.

Juliet may have been considered a true master pianist by her peers if it wasn’t for her sister Vivian, who is seemingly superior in every aspect of their lives, including if not especially the piano. Juliet is masterful, make no mistake but everyone in her life just sees something, an intangible characteristic that elevates Vivian to greater heights and it’s beginning to wear on Juliet. It’s something she’s dealt with their entire lives from the day these twin sisters were born Vivian has excelled.

After a tragedy occurs at their prestigious institution for classical musicians Juliet finds a mysterious notebook featuring depictions of a ritualistic nature she believes was once owned by a girl involved in the tragedy. At first she thinks nothing of it but soon recalls that before this girl’s untimely passing she was at the top of their school and only had greatness in front of her. Without fully understanding why, Juliet begins to benefit from reading this newfound notebook, she begins to break free from her shell. As things go better than ever she can’t help but notice the misfortune befallen her once beloved sister. What truly scares Juliet however is not the sudden success but the pleasure she begins to feel in the wake of her sister’s new reality of always falling just short of Juliet.

Sydney Sweeney is Juliet, an unyielding pianist who finds a helping hand in the worst way imaginable. Sydney Sweeney is fantastic balancing as a docile girl beginning to truly see her self worth. In this revelation however, Sydney maddeningly conveys hysteria unleashed by this mysterious new assistant. Her sister, the effervescent Vivian, played emphatically by Madison Iseman knows her sister’s jealousy all too well and when things start to go awry for her, she dumps all of her suspicions onto Juliet; the girl she thought loved her most in the world, now teeming with absolute vitriol toward her. Madison plays off Sydney perfectly and convincingly as sisters trying to tow the line between sibling rivalry and downright sabotage and things far more sinister. That line soon begins to fade into obscurity, along with their loyalties toward one another.

At the time of writing this I have yet to see the final film in the Blumhouse collection, titled Evil Eye. So far, between The Lie, Black Box, and now Nocturne, Nocturne is far and away the superior film of the bunch. I love the tone of the film, the unease as sisters butt heads to unchecked levels of disdain. The performances are nuanced and forceful. The lead, Sydney Sweeney, manages such a profound presence filled with maliciousness even as she barely mutters a single word. And the score, what a genuine treat the music is as it jabs and pries in a most euphoric manner. The score is transfixing as such discomfort permeates throughout the story, a story brimming with betrayal and mysterious forces hiding in the shadows. As the path unfurls before this unsuspecting girl, the music helps guide it to its most ethereal but agonizing final moments. Just because something ends in a smile doesn’t always mean it’s a happy ending.

Unrated (R rated equivalent): language, violence, drug and alcohol use, sexual situations, disturbing content, thematic material
Runtime: 90 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Starring: Sydney Sweeney, Madison Iseman, Ji Eun Hwang, Jacques Colimon
Directed By: Zu Quirke

Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 4/ Acting: 4.5/ Directing: 4.5/ Visuals: 4
OVERALL: 4.5 Nerdskulls

Buy to Own: Yes. Now streaming on Amazon Prime Video (Oct. 13)

Check out the trailer below:


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Chase Gifford

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"Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world"-Jean-Luc Godard