‘Nocturne’ Review: Finally, A Creepy Thriller Worthy Of The Blumhouse Name
The last film of Amazon Prime Video’s Welcome to the Blumhouse anthology is also the best of the bunch, hands down. The multi-film anthology is being released in October to time with Halloween, and Nocturne is the perfect film for the season, dealing with dark themes, teenagers in peril, and the devil himself in creating a perfect mood for spooky season.
Nocturne stars Sydney Sweeney (Netflix’s Everything Sucks and HBO’s Euphoria) as Juliet, a teenaged pianist at a boarding school for the arts. Her twin sister, Vivian (Madison Iseman) is arguably the more talented of the two, and has already secured acceptance to Juilliard, leaving Juliet “to take a year off” in shame.
Juliet can’t help but feel jealous, and she lives her quickly meandering life in obscurity until she comes across the music journal of a now-dead classmate, a violin prodigy who committed suicide in the film’s opening scenes. The journal holds the secret to success, but only if the holder is ready to make a deal that comes with a very high cost.
Nocturne immediately draws comparison to another Amazon Prime offering, the 2018 remake of Dario Argento’s Suspiria. Both films deal with young people buckling under the pressure that comes with creating art.
Suspiria was about the rigors of the ballet world, and Nocturne focuses on the state of learning and performing classical music. Both films tell a great story with just enough creepiness to stick with you, getting into the dark recesses of your brain to keep you thinking well after the film ends.
Juliet and Vivian are constantly at war with one another in both music and in love, as Max (Jacques Colimon) Vi’s boyfriend, gets dragged into their sisterly struggle. Nocturne dabbles into high school drama, all the while building the horror-themed tension in smart ways.
There were plenty of cracks in the script by writer-director Zu Quirke where the horror elements could have been pushed to the limits, but the director wielded subtlety like a seasoned master. There’s just enough here to cause the viewer to squirm without becoming full-on terrified.
Sweeney and Iseman do a great job of playing the sisters, with Sweeney carrying the lion’s share of the drama as Juliet slips into a form of madness spurned by the sibling rivalry. By the end of the film, almost every player is changed in one form or another.
Of the four Welcome to the Blumhouse films released so far, Nocturne is far and away the best. All of the elements come together in a very satisfying way, and, finally, there is a “horror” film in the bunch. It may not have jump scares, or copious amounts of gore, but underneath the surface, Nocturne pays off in all the right ways, and this is not a film to be missed this Halloween season.
Nocturne, the latest film in the Welcome to the Blumhouse anthology on Amazon Prime Video, is available on October 13, 2020.
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