Nightworld

To amuse yourself, trying singing Bob Seger’s Night Moves replacing “moves” with “world.” That will provide more entertainment value than Nightworld, a lazy, plodding, pointless exercise in horror tropes, shot in Sophia, Bulgaria of all places.

When you think Bulgaria (if you think of it at all) it’s in the context of some direct-to-video horror show with Steven Seagal, a former action star with a head like a scrubbing pad.

Starring Jason London, who played Randall “Pink” Floyd, in Dazed and Confused, this is a pretty confused effort too (it’ll take a while to notice him too, and you’ll be asking, “how do I know that guy?)

He’s an ex-LAPD, Brett, who takes a security job in Bulgaria to escape the pain of losing his wife. Actually, throw in a few Chechen terrorists and this sounds like the type of rubbish Seagal would sign on for.

What is the gig all about? Who’s paying him? What is he supposed to be looking out for? He can’t get any answers anywhere. It’s a bit like Kakfa’s The Castle, except for the universal existentialism, timeless quality, or literary merit. So, you could say Nightworld is not like The Castle at all.

Brett is supposed to stare at a bunch of screens, and report to his superiors by speed-dialing “1” if anything happens. If such a conceit applied to Nightworld’s Netflix viewers, this button would be deployed oh, zero times.

He at one point summons (by speed dial), an old blind gent, Jacob (Robert Englund). It’s mildly amusing that someone new on a job that requires hyper-vigilance, summons someone unsighted to help out. Very mildly.

Apart from that, Nightworld deploys the usual old saws in horror, the creepy twins, the old house, the nightsweats…

One major debit: one of Brett’s employers, a supposed Bulgarian, is trying (and failing) to conceal a tough-guy, um…Guy Ritchie flick brogue.

If you’re wowed by mysterious CCTV footprints, this is the movie for you.

*1/2 (out of 5)

The Psychic

Fulci-lite, is like lite-beer. Still a beer. And as such still enjoyable. The Psychic, aka, Sette note in nero (Seven Notes in Black) has that usual bit of Italian flare, wobbly-pop narrative and other-wordly dreamscapes that make these kinds of flicks enjoyable.

Virginia has psychic visions, stemming from girlhood when she has a harrowing hallucination of her mother plummeting off the white cliffs of Dover. These carry on to present day Florence, where she has a premonition of a body stuffed into a wall, the corpse of an elderly woman. When the “Carabinieri” start poking their noses around, they do find the deceased, however it’s the skeleton of a 25-year old.

The boys in blue implicate Virginia’s husband, Gianni, a Lothario who once dated the woman, but more damningly, it was in his fixer-upper house and behind his drywall, that the victim was stashed.

Dutiful Virginia teams up with Gianni’s sister Gloria, to put together a case to spring Gianni from the joint (this being the Italian justice system, Amanda Knox and all, one can’t be too careful. As Gianni puts it, re: a body found on his premises…”here it takes so little” [assumption of guilt]).

And it’s through her Virginia’s visions that clues unfold…a yellow cab, driven by a guy who ferried the deceased around on that fateful night, accompanied by another Lothario, an arts expert, Professor Rospini. Perhaps it was he did the nasty deed and who wanted to shut up a young paramour and prevent the missus from finding out? He certainly has a more viable motive.

The Psychic features some absolutely incredible music, written in part by genre heavy Fabio Frizzi, with a particularly foreboding piece being the alarm for a watch Gloria gives to Virginia.

With very mild gore, there are still enough Fulci touches to sate the masses. This was two years before the inestimable Zombi 2, and the classics he ripped out in the early 80s like The Beyond and City of the Living Dead.

***1/2 (out of 5)

[CHECK OUT OUR PODCAST DISCUSSION OF THE PSYCHIC!]