Nightworld is a psychological horror-thriller directed by Patricio Valladares. It released on October 20th 2017 via the production company Open Frames. Nightworld follows Brett Anderson, a retired LAPD officer who takes a mysterious security job as an escape from his current life. It is heavily insinuated throughout the film that Brett’s wife had committed suicide. While working at the apartment building, Brett encounters a strange blind man called Jacob (Robert Englund). Jacob reveals to Brett the dark and sinister history of the building and its owner.
Brett moves to Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia after his friend suggests he do so as a way of moving on. Brett is resistant at first but eventually gives in. He attends the interview for the role and is subjected to a series of personal questions. He is naturally suspicious but plays along anyway. They show him around the building and explain the role he will be undertaking. Twice a day he must go into the basement and check a series of monitors for red flags. The monitors are recording footage of a hanger that is situated behind an ominous looking door. If there is a red flag then Brett is to call Jacob.
Even though he is highly suspicious, it sounds too good to be true. Not only is the job easy but Brett gets to live in one of the spectacular apartments. Things are fairly uneventful at first until a monitor flags something very strange. At first, Brett sees a shadowy figure run across the screen. He calls Jacob who basically brushes it off. However, he tells Brett to call immediately if he seems any footprints. Well, that is exactly what he sees next. This leads to him and two others entering the creepy hanger, they discover nothing.
Also, while this is taking place Brett meets a woman called Zara. They become romantically involved but Brett keeps having horrific hallucinations of his wife slitting her throat.
Anyway, things begin to ramp up as Brett eventually sees 100s of feet prints on the monitor. Jacob is horrified by this and decides it is time to fully explain what is going on.
Nightworld presents an extremely intriguing scenario that is built upon quite well. However, it has a number of problems that I’ll get into in a moment. Brett is a likeable guy; you naturally feel bad for him and want things to go right. Unfortunately, he picked the wrong job. I liked how much he questioned what was happening around him. However, it is far too unbelievable to me that anyone would stick around and continue when he is given little to no answers. Anyone in their right mind would be out the door as soon as they saw the monitors.
This brings me on to the biggest flaw with Nightworld. Why did they employ Brett in the first place? Why not give the job to someone that understands what is going on and has a grasp for the gravity of the situation. It is shown that there are plenty of people in this position that would have made much more sense. Brett is basically a complete random, what were they thinking? If they were so adamant it had to be him then why not at least try to explain? Brett not having a clue is what leads to everything going to hell.
Also, the film is seriously slow paced. It works for the first half hour to great effect but things don’t pick up until near the hour mark. If you’re going to have a movie be such a slow burn then you better make sure the final reveal is worthwhile. Personally, I found it to be pretty underwhelming. It does an admirable job of explaining it but it comes across convoluted. I expected more but it’s disappointingly predictable, unoriginal and uncreative.
There is one or two creepy moments but it fails to be truly scary. Well, that is unless you include Robert Englund playing a blind, Bulgarian man (joke). Nightworld has an extremely intriguing first half, I was fully invested. Unfortunately, I started to lose interest when nothing of note was taking place. Predictably, things ramp up in the final act. However, it’s let down by mediocre effects and what feels like a major tonal shift. The ending leaves things feeling rather flat as well.
Also, why is Jacob used as the go to guy if something happens? He is literally blind, what use is he? Not only is his blindness never explained but he needs everything to be described to him due to his lack of vision. Surely there was someone better for such an important job, it’s laughable quite frankly. The job involves looking at monitors, his inability to see makes him entirely useless.
What I can’t fault are the performances from just about everyone involved. Also, it’s shot well and the location used is a good one.
Overall, Nightworld could have been better. I’m giving it some major tough love as it was enjoyable in places. However, it fails to keep its early momentum going until the end. It’s worth a watch but seriously lower your expectations and you may not be disappointed.