Nightsiren is a 2022 horror film about a young woman who returns to her native mountain village, searching for answers about her childhood, but as she tries to uncover the truth, ancient superstitions lead the villagers to accuse her of witchcraft and murder.
Directed by Tereza Nvotová from a screenplay by Barbora Namerova and Tereza Nvotová.
The Slovak-Czech Bfilm-Moloko Film-RTVS co-production stars Natalia Germani, Eva Mores, Juliana Olhová, Iva Bittová, Jana Olhová, Marek Geisberg, Zuzana Konecná, Noel Czuczor, Peter Ondrejicka, Matus Rysan, Sára Tömölová, Ela Stanová, Petra Vajdová, Timothy Hlinka and Denis Polyák.
In a secluded mountain village, two sisters endure a tumultuous upbringing under the tyranny of their abusive mother.
One fateful day, a tragic accident occurs when the elder sister, Šarlota, flees into the surrounding woods, closely followed by her younger sister, Tamara. The blame for their disappearance falls upon Otyla, a Roma woman residing on the outskirts of the village. Accused of witchcraft, Otyla becomes a scapegoat for the sisters’ vanishing.
Twenty years later, Šarlota unexpectedly returns to the village, stirring suspicion and unease among the locals. Determined to uncover the truth about her past, she begins delving into her history, prompting the villagers to grow increasingly distrustful. Amidst this atmosphere of suspicion, the only person willing to befriend Šarlota is Mira, a young and eccentric herbalist.
As tensions rise within the community, a mysterious affliction befalls the village’s animals. Blaming Šarlota for conjuring the spirit of Otyla, the locals become convinced that she is responsible for the worsening situation…
“The film delves into themes of prejudice, superstition, and the consequences of collective fear, exploring the complexities of human nature and the long-lasting impact of past events.
Nightsiren weaves a haunting narrative, immersing viewers in a tale of secrets, injustice, and the resilience of the human spirit. It explores the search for truth, the power of friendship, and the fight against prejudice in a remote village gripped by suspicion and the remnants of a painful history.
Nightsiren, The Witch, and Midsommar all belong to the genre of psychological horror, but each film offers a unique exploration of dark themes and unsettling atmospheres.
While all three films share a common exploration of darkness, trauma, and the human psyche, they offer distinct narratives and stylistic approaches. Nightsiren delves into a more intimate, character-driven story within a specific cultural context, while The Witch and Midsommar explore larger themes with an emphasis on atmosphere, folklore, and psychological turmoil.”
” …director Tereza Nvotová has made a movie that looks absolutely gorgeous and from another world. The witch sabbath scene in this is incredibly evocative and just blew me away. We live in a world that fears what it does not understand and seeks to hold back things of beauty and passion. These issues exist from big cities to small towns and everywhere in between; things seem to be sliding back into a world where women no longer even have autonomy over their own bodies.” B&S About Movies
“Stimulating enough to keep me invested, but it ultimately fails to deliver an engaging narrative. While I did like some of the choices made here, I found myself counting down the minutes until the credits rolled.” ★★½ Cinedump
“Divided up into seven chapters, it feels a little choppy and a little like the story took a backseat for some of the more surreal sequences, which may make the payoff a little less worth it at the end. But in any case, Nightsiren certainly showcases Nvotová as a filmmaker who is willing to explore complex themes and navigate the possibilities of genre film. Nightsiren is a flawed but fantastical look at misogyny and trauma…” ★★★½ Loud and Clear
“Gorgeously shot by Federico Cesca with sumptuous shots of the beautiful nature surrounding the village, a jaw-dropping sequence involving a witches’ sabbath, and chilling set pieces, Nightsiren boasts an otherworldly feel with scenes that ring all too true in today’s world. Nvotová has crafted a haunting film in which snakes and wolves seem tame next to the village’s inhabitants.” ★★★½ The Scariest Things
” …Nightsiren is always a sumptuous viewing experience, drawing often on the natural world for symbol and scene-stealing eeriness. Whilst it loses some of its goodwill towards the end – opting to dodge important exposition points which could have lent the whole film more of a completed feel – there is nonetheless style and ambition here, suggestive of the weight of generational, gendered expectations and the irrational ways these can play out.” Warped Perspective
In the US, Nightsiren will be given a limited theatrical release in Kansas City, Los Angeles and New York by Breaking Glass Pictures on September 22, 2023.
Rich Wolff, CEO of Breaking Glass Pictures said: “We are honoured to be part of bringing Nightsiren to audiences in North America. Tereza Nvotová’s powerful direction, coupled with the exceptional writing of Barbora Namerova and Tereza Nvotová, has created a thought-provoking and emotionally resonant film. Nightsiren tackles important themes of abuse, prejudice, and the search for identity, and it does so with remarkable storytelling and a talented cast. We believe this film will captivate audiences and ignite conversations on the complexities of human relationships and the resilience of the human spirit.”
Micaela Fusco, Head of International Sales, added: “We are thrilled to work with Breaking Glass Pictures and we can’t wait for the North American release. This gem from Eastern Europe is a perfect example of elevated genre, capable of winning both in Locarno and Sitges Film Festival, a psychological mystery thriller with an arthouse soul, an anti-folk and feminist manifesto.”