Directed by: Stephen Shimek
Written by: Katy Baldwin, Kristi Shimek, Stephen Shimek
Cast: Clare Niederpruem, Hailey Nebeker, Melanie Stone
Swift shot: A non-linear, slick horror film that bends the limits of reality but makes sense when everything comes together. Also, I have said this in many reviews, never mess around with a Ouija board, and if you do . . . always, ALWAYS say good bye! Otherwise you have just invited in any spirit that wants to come in. Think of it like your house, you wouldn’t just leave your front door open and not kick out unruly guests, would you? Especially not invisible guests with terrible dark powers! If only these “high school” kids had gotten the memo. The question isn’t if they’ll all die, it’s when and if you’ll even realize when it is happening.
Maren (Nebeker) is the host of a high school graduation party, never mind the fact that the average age of the actors appears to be 30, you are just supposed to assume they are high school kids all looking to move on from “adolescence” to adulthood. There are interesting dynamics happening at the party, which comes out in the storytelling.
Anyway, at one point Gabe (Jake Stormoen) gets into a discussion about magic vs. science and theology vs. superstition, and he’s come armed with a few card tricks that he wants to show off and prove that they are, in fact, just tricks and there is no such thing as God or the Devil, it’s all just manipulating the weak minded . . . so he thinks. He’s about to learn the hard way that there are more things on heaven and earth than are dreamt of in his feeble imagination.
I have a little bit of experience with tarot cards and Ouija boards, but it was interesting hearing that a regular deck of playing cards could actually be transformed into both simultaneously. As Gabe explains the different face cards represent different characters in the tarot deck and the fact that there are 26 letters in our alphabet and 52 cards, he simply flips a few of them over and writes out letters and a Yes and No and uses the number cards in a giant circle, and he’s got a nifty portal to evil.
Being “kids” they decide to hold a seance and the questions range from how many people each has slept with to some more telling secrets.
Each character divulges a bit more about how they all interconnect, and as things get rougher, one of them breaks the circle – apparently that’s a bozo no no, because . . . they didn’t say goodbye! Believe what you want, but it’s just rude to not say goodbye, ya know?
So, now, as you might have guessed, that character becomes possessed, and they are all doomed from that moment on.
In the end, Nocturne reminds us that the worst darkness we can imagine is not even close to what horrors truly evil entities have in store for us, and all because we invited that in, freely.
Someone on YouTube called me out saying they’ve used a Ouija five times and it didn’t affect them. I find it odd then that they would do it five times, and it seems like a very broad statement to claim that it didn’t affect them in anyway. Perhaps the spirits were just as bored with them as I was? Or perhaps the spirits are just biding their time? As we learn in Nocturne, time is a human construct, not a demon’s.
If you are looking for a fresh perspective on the somewhat overdone Ouija board horror genre, Nocturne provides it with a compelling, and a bit confusing story-line. There are moments where nothing will make sense, until the very end, and the film never gets boring. I was definitely entertained.
A bit SPOILERY alert: What makes Nocturne noteworthy is the manner in which you find out the story is non-linear, it isn’t an immediate revelation – and I almost think I shouldn’t reveal that here, but maybe it will make some of the dialog make a lot more sense. Nocturne is one of those films you can watch twice, because of this little reveal. Because as things are happening in real time, there is, in fact no concept of time and space for the demon tormenting and killing each kid.