Wednesday, 29 August 2012



If you've only got one egg, make a smaller cake. It's always better to make a film that suits your resources, than it is to make one that exceeds them and then bleating about how you couldn't do it properly. If you're only working with a few thousand dollars then you should create something that costs a few thousand dollars, rather than trying to do Waterworld or something and handing it in with a note explaining why it's a bit rubbish. Don't skimp on your dreams. If you can only afford a house and three actors, make a "three people in a house" movie; just so long as you do it well.

Buddy Giovinazzo's low-budget A Night Of Nightmares is a perfect example of this: one normal location, one car, two or three main characters, one voice on the phone, a couple of bit parts and minimal special effects. Mark Lighthouse (Marc Senter) drives up into the hills to a rented ranch to interview singer-songwriter Ginger (Elissa Dowling) for his website about under-the-radar musicians, and for a while everything's nice and friendly. But it's not long before they hear strange noises and receive unsettling phone calls - and that's just the start....

As a straightforward "Boo!!!" horror movie, it's terrific and it had me in that same delicious "can't look, must look" zone as Insidious did. But it's also sweetly charming with a believable and likeable central duo, so that emotional hook means the perfectly timed jumps and scares grab your mind as well as whatever that bit of the brain is that responds to sudden loud noises and shocks (the amygdala, if you believe Wikipedia). A Night Of Nightmares is a well-done, nicely crafted, unshowy horror movie in the best tradition of simply scaring the chips out of you and almost having you shouting "For God's sake, people, don't go back in the house!" at the screen.

Frustratingly, the movie doesn't yet have British distribution so it's not on the release schedules any time soon - and when it does it will probably go straight to DVD - but it's absolutely worth catching if and when it does show up. Creepy as hell, it's one of my very favourites from this year's Frightfest and highly recommended.


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