NOCTURNE (2016) Reviews and overview


‘Hell hath no fury like a demon scorned’

Nocturne is a 2016 American supernatural horror feature film directed by Stephen Shimek (Dudes & Dragons; The Maze; Dragon Hunter) from a screenplay co-written with Katy Baldwin and Kristi Shimek. Clare Niederpruem, Darien Willardson and Melanie Stone star.


Jo (Clare Niederpruem) has something to hide from her past. Her unsuspecting friends perform a late-night seance ritual that opens a gateway to Hell. Dirty secrets are revealed and an uninvited guest joins the party. Now, Jo is forced to confront her mistakes as her friends try to escape a supernatural spirit…


Have you ever noticed how movies about teenagers always treat the rules of the “Never Have I Ever” game like they’re some sort of legally binding contract?

Seriously, I’ve seen this happen in so many movies. Someone has a deep, dark secret that they don’t want to reveal. They know that if they reveal the secret, a lot of bad stuff will happen as a result. Feelings will be hurt. Friendships will be crushed. Lives will be lost.

But then the minute somebody says, “Never have I ever f*cked my best friend’s boyfriend,” they always drink up. Half the time, they’re the only person to take a drink. And, during all of the drama that unfolds, it never occurs to anyone to say, “Why didn’t you just not take the drink!?  It’s just a game, after all!”

Something like this happens in the 2016 film, Nocturne. The story takes place at perhaps the saddest high school graduation party of all time. All of the cool kids have gone to another party, which means that only seven people show up at this party. From that humble beginning, things quickly go downhill as the graduates hang out in the hot tub, play the Never Have I Ever game and listen to Gabe (Jake Stormeon) ramble about religion and philosophy and stuff.  Gabe also demonstrates some card tricks so yeah… that’s definitely the way to end your high school career.

Anyway, bad parties always seem to lead to people trying to contact the dead and that’s what happens here. Gabe sets up a makeshift séance and the graduates ask the dead a lot of questions that they probably shouldn’t have asked.

Needless to say, this leads to someone getting possessed and just about everyone else dying. The other party was probably a lot more fun.

So, on the plus side, Nocturne is fairly well-acted and some of the death scenes were clever. The film’s chronology is a bit jumbled, which is one of those storytelling tricks that can be really annoying but which is justified here by the fact that demon exists beyond our conventional understanding of time and space.

On the negative side, a cat dies about halfway through the film and, as I discussed years ago in my review of Drag Me to Hell, it’s hard for me to endorse any film in which a cat is killed, even if it isn’t real. I mean, honestly, I would think most supernatural beings would appreciate the fact that a cat can sleep through just about anything. Whereas a dog would be barking and throwing a fit over all the murders being committed, a cat would probably just relax in a corner and play with a toy mouse or something. In this film, there was really no reason to kill the cat and it felt a bit gratuitous. It was hard not to tell that the only reason the cat was put in the film was so it could be killed.

Anyway, Nocturne is a rather uneven film. If you can see past the dead cat, you might find this one interesting. It has its creepy moments, even if it’s hard not to feel that the overall movie doesn’t really work.

Lisa Marie Bowman, MOVIES and MANIA – guest reviewer via Through the Shattered Lens

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Other reviews:

” …approach this film with an open mind, expecting a low budget indie that has a pair it isn’t afraid to show off. The cast and crew take measured risks time and again, and those risks pay off pretty well. Again, Nocturne isn’t a film without flaw, but it is an entertaining horror flick that dares to be great in key sequences.” Addicted to Horror

” …if only the first half of the movie would have been a bit as good as its second half, this movie would have been a pretty awesome and recommendable one. There is even some decent gore – and creative killings to enjoy in its second half…” Boba_Fett1138

“Nocturne is a fresh perspective on a familiar trend. The production is solid. Roles were expressed with fluidity and naturalness. Visual effects from its many sources worked in concert to accentuate the storytelling. Nocturne delivers an intense viewing experience.” Decay mag

“If you are looking for a fresh perspective on the somewhat overdone Ouija board horror genre, Nocturne provides it with a compelling, and a bit confusing story-line. There are moments where nothing will make sense, until the very end, and the film never gets boring. I was definitely entertained.” Film Grouch

“Shimek has crafted an effective, atmospheric, creepy, and above all contextually believable  possession-type flick that manages to homage films of days gone by, stand alone as a good movie in it’s own right, and —  by showing us that even longstanding formulas can be molded into something interesting with a little talent and effort — raises the bar on this type of film.” Legless Corpse

Nocturne is set in a small and bland house, features stereotypical teens, and has no outlandish looking scenes, yet it is one of the best horror films I have seen this year with excellent use of muted colours, a great soundtrack and nifty use of editing. The writing for this is masterful…” The Rotting Zombie

“Big on ideas, solid in story and remarkable in execution, Nocturne is a well crafted depiction of the role of sin and the part it has to play in day to day life. A rejuvenating retelling of a familiar yarn, it’s already receiving well deserved praise from the festival circuit.” The Slaughtered Bird

Nocturne follows a typical horror formula reminiscent of Night of the Demons with a little less fun and a lot more seriousness. Director Stephen Shimek puts his own spin on the tale […] Nocturne does spend a little too much time partying and not enough time investing in likable characters. Perhaps that’s the point though.” Without Your Head

Main cast:

  • Clare Niederpruem – Zombie Hunter; Vamp UThe Maze
  • Darien Willardson
  • Melanie Stone – Mythica: The Necromancer; Be My Frankenstein
  • Colton Tran – Spook
  • Jake Stormoen
  • Corey Sondrup


In the US, Nocturne was released on DVD by Monarch Home Entertainment on July 25, 2017.

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