Nightwatch falls short of new standards for horror film genre

Though Nightwatch (Dimension Films) follows in the wake of Gen-X slasher flicks Scream , Scream 2 and I Know What You Did Last Summer, it doesn’t compare. Nightwatch is the basic, predictable suspense thriller. Only one difference – it has a Scottish heartthrob desperately trying to sound American.

The film stars Ewan McGregor (Trainspotting) as the hapless law student, Martin Bells. He takes on the job of night watchman at the town morgue just as dead prostitutes with their eyes cut out start turning up there. It sounds gruesome – and it is.

Martin learns from the elderly, paranoid night watchman he replaces that horrible, unspeakable things have taken place at the morgue. And years ago, one of the night watchman was involved in a disgraceful crime about which no one ever talked.

The freaked-out Martin learns his way the around the morgue and begins to grow accustomed to the creepiness of it all. Then the murders start. Inspector Cray (Nick Nolte, Afterglow) takes the case, and the town begins to suspect Martin. Cray suggests that Martin’s thrill-seeking best friend James (Josh Brolin, Flirting with Disaster) is setting him up.

Eventually Martin’s world begins to unravel, and his darkest fears become his reality. Even his girlfriend Marie (Patricia Arquette, Flirting with Disaster) questions his innocence.

The lighting direction and set design are worth noting. They really create a fantastically eerie and macabre reality. However, the biggest problem with this film is the inevitable comparison with Scream.

Nightwatch lacks the humor that made Scream a success and rejuvenated the tiresome genre of horror films. Scream raised the measuring bar, and Nightwatch falls short.

Nightwatch is now playing.2 hatchets

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