By Mike Fragnito

Jason London, who previously appeared in Dazed & Confused and Out Cold (these titles coincidentaly describe his on screen charisma as a performer), stars as a retired LAPD officer and recent widow living in Bulgaria named Brett. When the peaceful tranquility of his secluded Bulgarian lake front property fails to provide him solace after his wife’s suicide, Brett takes a night watchman/live-in caretaker job at an infamous building run by a mysterious group of characters in Bulgaria’s capital city. The job is a piece of cake, and he spends his day watching a door on a computer monitor and cleaning his revolver on his down time while thinking about the kid he killed as a cop, as one does—until creepy visions and events start happening of course.

The guy down on his luck taking a night watchman job set-up is suspiciously similar to and will immediately remind horror fans of both The Shining (there are explicit references) and Ole Bordenal’s vastly superior 1994 Danish morgue chiller Nightwatch with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (or his own 1997 Hollywood remake with Ewan McGregor). Nightworld never comes close to creating a shred of suspense or mystery to rival those films. The filmmakers struggle to create any sort of style or atmosphere in the world they’ve assembled that could intrigue viewers in the slightest. Neither does it cross the line into so-bad-its-good territory, except for a GIF-worthy moment of indecision from Brett whether to fire his gun again in the film’s conclusion. Save a few intermittent and hokey jump scares, the “exciting” parts are relegated to the final moments of the film, and it’s a letdown.

The failure of this film starts with a completely unimaginative screenplay that features painfully cliché dialogue and laughable stock characters… Such as Brett’s best bro friend Alex, who does edgy things like dropping f-bombs or popping by with a 6-pack of beer to help his best bud get over his dead wife. There’s also the gorgeous Zara, who looks like a model, but pours coffee for a living at the local diner. Her character serves no real purpose other than to participate in a random and awkward sex scene and be present for Brett to protect in the final act. The one redeemable quality is the brief appearance of horror icon Robert Englund, who plays the former night watchman Jacob. Englund lends class to the ridiculous exposition he recites late in the film regarding the goings on within the mystery room Brett is paid to guard—even if what revelations he provides are completely stupid. As Jacob, he brings a passion to cringeworthy dialogue as if they were written by Shakespeare himself, and you have to admire this commitment from a veteran actor who deserves better material to breathe life into.

Shot in 18 days, Nightworld could have used at least 18 more. I’m at a loss for who to recommend this film to or who its fans would be. Actually, there’s a comprehensive list of Nightworld’s fans following the feature that are also known as the credits, because I can’t imagine anyone else liking this forgettable so-called thriller that weren’t involved in its production.


Horror Channel Frightfest Review: Nightworld
1.0Overall Score
Reader Rating: (3 Votes)

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