6.2/10
17,772
133 user 49 critic

Nightwatch (1997)

A law student, who takes a job as a night watchman at a morgue, begins to discover clues that implicate him as the suspect of a series of murders.

Director:

Ole Bornedal

Writers:

Ole Bornedal (film Nattevagten), Ole Bornedal (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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From $2.99 (HD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Anais Evans Anais Evans ... Leanne (as Anaïs Evans)
Ewan McGregor ... Martin Bells
Nick Nolte ... Inspector Cray
Erich Anderson ... Newscaster
Josh Brolin ... James
Lauren Graham ... Marie
Patricia Arquette ... Katherine
Lonny Chapman ... Old Watchman
Scott Burkholder ... College Professor
Brad Dourif ... Duty Doctor
Michael Matthys ... Guy in Pub
Alison Gale Alison Gale ... Girl Friend of Guy in Pub
Robert LaSardo ... Pub Thug
Mongo Brownlee Mongo Brownlee ... Pub Thug (as Mongo)
Candy Ann Brown ... Female Paramedic (as Candy Brown Houston)
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Storyline

A law student takes a job as the night-watchman in a morgue, thinking that he will have much time to study, with his biggest problem being his paranoia in this scary setting. Meanwhile, a serial killer is on the loose and the student ends up getting mixed up with one of the murders, becoming a suspect. Written by Soumitra

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He's a full-time college student who just took the wrong part-time job. Now he's the final piece in a brilliant serial killer's puzzle. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong, morbid violence, language, sexuality, and some drug content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 April 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La sombra de la noche See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$585,733, 19 April 1998, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,200,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

(at around 8 mins) The photograph on the bulletin board at the guard desk that Martin notices when he shows up for his first shift and asks the old watchman about, is a famous photo of Lewis Thornton Powell (also known as Lewis Paine or Lewis Payne), a conspirator with John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of Abraham Lincoln. See more »

Quotes

Inspector Thomas Cray: I want you to do me a favor, Martin.
[tosses Martin a baseball bat]
Inspector Thomas Cray: Hit me.
Martin Bells: What?
Inspector Thomas Cray: Come on, Martin. Hit me. How much more can you take? Do you know what they're going to do to you, Martin? They're going to snuff you out, like a bug hitting a windshield. You're going to die anyway, Martin. Don't you know that you're going to die? Now come on, Martin. You've got to do something. Protect yourself, save yourself. Martin, this is your last chance. Do something! Or I'll take your girlfriend's eyes.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original cut of the film was just about 2 1/2 hours and included a different score and different opening sequence which was just an extended version of the two couples having dinner together followed by an extended scene at the local pub. The entire subplot of discussion of marriage between Lauren Graham and Josh Brolin's characters was cut, including a sequence at the end where they are married at a double wedding alongside Patricia Arquette and Ewan McGregor's characters. This version also included an extended restaurant scene with Joyce and more contact between her and Martin throughout the film, including a much more graphic death sequence in Joyce's apartment. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Paris-Manhattan (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Il Barbiere di Siviglia - Largo al factotum
Written by Gioachino Rossini
Performed by Riccardo Stracciari with The Orchestra of Milan
Courtesy of Arkadia Records by arrangement with Qualiton Imports, Ltd.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Have you ever been killed before?
4 December 2004 | by sol-kaySee all my reviews

***SPOILERS*** Nick Nolte for all intents and purposes looking like Boris Karloff as the Frankenstein monster but without the use of makeup is police inspector Thomas Cray who's in charge of a special police task force trying to find and capture, dead or alive, a serial killer. The killer for some weird reason has a habit of cutting out the eyes of his dead victims, all women, and then raping their corpses. It seems that the killer wants to quit the business of serial killing but at the same time wants the police and the law to leave him alone and stop hunting him down so he can enjoy his retirement.

This sets up the story for young law student Martin Bell, Ewan McGeror, who just got a job at the local medical examiner building as a night watchman where all the recent murder victims of the killers are kept. The killer plans to frame young Martin as can then be free from being tracked down and arrested for the crimes that Martin will be jailed for.

"Nightwatch" has it's share of cheap thrills and a number of twists and turns in it's story but their very unconvincing in how the killer, who you can spot almost as soon as you see him, is so hard for the police to find when his actions are so insane and weird just like those of the murderer.

The film-makers put two people into roles that would make you think that their the real killer of the people in the movie. One is so obvious that you just know that he didn't do it and is just a red herring put into the movie to get you and the police off the track of the real killer.

There's also a fact that he, the killer, once worked in the medical examiner's office some time ago and was dismissed for messing around with the corpses. All that is in the medical examiners record department which should have been a dead give away to everyone involved just too who he really is.

There's also some scenes in the movie that focus on a photo of Lewis Paine, thats pinned to the wall in the night watchman's office one of the people executed for the murder of President Abraham Lincoln in 1865. This seems to indicate to the audience that he, or his ghost, may have something to do with the killings but in the end nothing ever comes of it and he's completely forgotten well before the movie is over.

There's also a very mixed-up sub-plot in the movie between Martin's friend James, Josh Brolin, and a hooker he picked up at the local bus station Joyce, Alix Koromzay,who he's trying to get Martin to have an affair with her. This moronic attempt by James is to give him a high since it seems that the normal high he used to get with women by having sex is no longer there and even having the hell beat out of him to get high doesn't work either.

Joyce's relations with Martin, which are almost next to nothing, has his girlfriend Kathy, Pat Arquette, leave him and in the end. Sure enough Joyce ends up being a victim of the on the loose serial killer and Martin, becomes the prime suspect just like the killer wanted in the crime.

The ending of "Nightwatch" had the usual damsel as well as good guy both in distress with the crazed killer having them both tied down on a table in the mortuary and about to cut both their skulls open with an electric slicer. It's then when the person who was made to look like the killer during the entire movie coming to their rescue, minus a thumb, blasting the real killer away and sending him to his just reward.

"Nightwatch" is a watchable horror/suspense movie but it's hard to take seriously at all due it it's very predictable and unconvincing story and the killer is so obvious that you can easily spot him well before the movie reveals his true identity.


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