25 April 2004 | Snake-666
A lot better than the rating suggests.
Katherine Atwell (Jaclyn Smith), the wife of a wealthy businessman, unwittingly finds herself embroiled in a sinister murder plot when her lover decides to murder her husband and steal his money so that the two may elope together.
Ted Post directs this Hitchcock-style horror/thriller about murder and deception and one has to say that he does a very good job in doing so. Post takes a screenplay based on a story by the relatively unknown John Case and turns it into an intricate and generally compelling ninety minute piece of criminally underrated cinema. Although Post obviously lacks the directorial flair of his inspirers Hitchcock and Argento (there are a couple of instances where light is used in a similar fashion to Argento as well as some Argento-style trickery), one cannot really fault his execution of the work and instead has to admire the way that he turned such a low-budget into a thrill fest of suspense and intrigue. The subtle blending of the foreboding orchestral soundtrack with the continuing tension Post is able to create through some rather adept use of lighting and slow-yet-adequate pacing is probably the main reason that this movie is able to succeed and become quite a shining of example of great, low-budget cinema.
Jaclyn Smith, from the TV series Charlie's Angels', is exceptional in her role as a woman pushed to the brink of madness following a series of bizarre and inexplicable happenings as if being an unplanned accessory to the murder of her husband wasn't enough! Smith's performance is all the more credible due to the whole array of emotions her character is forced to portray. Despite Smith's character being a wrong-doer, it becomes quite easy to sympathise with her plight and understand her actions. Robert Mitchum takes the main role of the supporting cast as Lt. Donner and just adds to the credible acting performances that help to make Nightkill' what it is. Unfortunately, the rest of the supporting cast were not exactly up to par except for a somewhat brief performance by the near-legendary B-movie actress Sybil Danning.
Nightkill' is a movie built on suspense, fortified by extraordinary acting performances (for a movie of this type) and cemented with a truly remarkable and haunting finale. Those who appreciate thrillers such as those by Hitchcock and Argento should find something enjoyable in this film as well. Certainly not for those who have had their attention spans stolen by MTV, but for those who appreciate subtle, slow and suspenseful thrillers. Yes, there are problems such as a rather unnecessary piece of character interaction towards the end, a brief decline in quality during the middle of the film and the obvious limitations of the budget. The final twist is also a little clichéd and does become a little obvious but not really enough to take away from one's enjoyment. Nightkill' is still a very accomplished film and one that psychological thriller fans should find quite enjoyable. My rating for Nightkill' 7/10.