Movie Review – Nochnoy Dozor (Night Watch) – Horror, Foreign – DVD

Night Watch is, according to IMdB, the second-highest grossing Russian film ever. It is second to it’s sequel Day Watch. Watching this film, it’s easy to see why.

First, the story: Among us normal human beings live the Others. They look like us, but have special abilities and attributes: Sorcerers, shape-shifters, witches, vampires, psychics and the like. The Dark Others, who prey on humans, and Light Others, who protect them, have been maintaining a fragile detente for millenia. Light Others who watch to keep the Dark ones in check are called Night Watch, the Dark Others who perform the same function against the Light, are of course Day Watch.

But now something new threatens the peace, a vortex in time and space with supernatural origin and a new Other, a boy, who hasn’t chosen Light or Dark and may be the Anakin-like one who shifts the balance.

We follow the story through Anton, a Light Other who is trying to atone for the sins of his past and stop the end of the world. His special abilities are to see supernatural things and to emulate, but not become, the vampires.

It’s an interesting take on Good vs. Evil, how the lines that are clearest are sometimes drawn the most arbitrarily.

Second: The effects. There as good as anything a US studio could put together. The attention to detail even includes the subtitles, which at times change to match the mood. Example of this: A young boy is being “called” by a vampire. He’s swimmng in a pool at the time and develops a nosebleed. The blood swirling in the water forms the words of the vampire who is “calling” to him as subtitle. Cool stuff like that throughout.

The DVD has additional commentary from the author of the novel it’s based on. I only watch a little of it that way. He’s fairly happy with the way it turned out, and it’s obvious that the filmakers are committed to making the whole trilogy of his into a film trilogy, since they borrowed scenes from his later books. I think that’s cool.

I’ll have to read the book. The story was entertaining enough. Roger Ebert found it confusing and overly complex – I didn’t have that problem as I expected it. I mean, it’s Russian. One shouldn’t expect a simple or happy story. One can, however, experience a story well-told. And watching this movie, one does.

Note: It is the first of 3 films. I mention that again so that you don’t have a WTF moment at the end, which I’ll not be spoiling for you.


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