26th Mar2019

‘Night’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Alexis Beacher, Danielle Iannucci, Gianna Jacobs, Nicholas Michael Jacobs | Written and Directed by Nicholas Michael Jacobs

night-poster

Found footage horror movies have probably had a much longer life than many movie lovers would have liked. Cannibal Holcaust is known as the first of its kind (and still one of the best), yet the genre became at its most popular with the brilliant The Blair Witch Project. There’s been a mix of good and bad since then with plenty of highlights including Paranormal Activity, REC, Cloverfield, Troll Hunters, V/H/S and many more – including sequels to several of those movies. More recently the genre has evolved with the use of modern technology based around computers. Webcams, social media and live streaming have been used particularly well in the Unfriended movies and this is the route Night takes.

Unfortunately the Night filmmakers don’t seem to have any idea of what makes a good found footage movie, or at least no idea how to execute it.

The plot is very simple. We have one guy kidnap a young girl, tie her to a chair and torture her while he live streams it to the world. He then chats to the people watching asking for ideas on how to torture her and taking donations for doing what they ask. And 95% of the movie is a grainy static camera focused on the girl in a badly lit room. And if that doesn’t interest you, then things do get worse because I would estimate that almost a third of the short run time (about sixty five minutes in total) is spent with a literal blank screen!

The first four minutes are a camera turned on, aimed at nothing but we can hear the guy, well, doing something, it’s hard to tell. And there are several other moments when the camera ether gets knocked or is just aimed at nothing so the viewer is literally seeing nothing and hearing things that are not very obvious as to what is happening or not very interesting or both. I do understand the idea behind this, to give the film an authentic, non-editing style but there’s a fine line between this and just filming things unnecessarily.

I guess the torture scenes would be a reason some horror fans might give this a go but I feel like you’d be let down on that part as well. The very low budget hinders these as well as the inexperienced acting. It is all too clear that the beatings are not making contact (you don’t actually see a lot because the guy stands in front of the camera for much of it) and the cuts and stabbings look poor, with the little blood we do see not looking believable at all. It seemed clear that the girl was tied to the chair very badly too, which seems like a small complaint but obviously plays a big part.

There’s a final twist that could have worked but is at least partly let down because it is hard to care as a viewer at what is happening.

A low budget is no excuse for a poor-looking and bad movie. I have seen movies made with next to nothing that I have really enjoyed. And although Night is probably going for a dark and gritty style, it just doesn’t work on any level.

Night is available to watch now on Amazon Prime Video.

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