"Paul Levinson's It's Real Life is a page-turning exploration into that multiverse known as rock and roll. But it is much more than a marvelous adventure narrated by a master storyteller...it is also an exquisite meditation on the very nature of alternate history." -- Jack Dann, The Fiction Writer's Guide to Alternate History

Monday, December 21, 2020

Nocturne: Deadly Player

I saw and enjoyed Nocturne last night, the fourth of four horror movies by Blumhouse on Amazon Prime Video, which four themselves are the first installment in a larger series to continue in 2021.  Like the first three Blumhouse movies I saw and reviewed -- The Lie, Black Box, and Evil Eye -- Nocturne is a tightly drawn family drama.  But Nocturne has the additional depth of being situated in music.

The story is about two fraternal twins, Juliet and Vivien, who are high school piano virtuosos and in constant fraternal competition.  Well, Vivien's a virtuoso, and on her way to Juilliard.  Juliet has problems expressing her talent.  Fortunately (or, of course, maybe not),  Juliet discovers a notebook with strange scribblings and depictions.  Will these help her find her confidence and showcase her talent?

I'll say no more, except the sibling rivalry intensifies, affairs and almost affairs with boyfriends and teachers ensue, and the music is beautiful and haunting.  The acting is fine, too, especially Sydney Sweeney as Juliet, and it was good to see Dexter's Julie Benz as the twins' mother.  The ending was somewhat predictable, but it was effectively rendered, and I thought the real strength of Nocturne was not in the plot per se but in way the parts of this inevitable story were played out.  Applause for Zu Quirke who wrote and directed.

So I'm all set for the next Blumhouse quartet next year.   In a way, the more I see of these movies, the more they look like a 21st-century streaming Twilight Zone, with longer episodes.


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