6.2/10
17,817
134 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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ON DISC
2 wins. See more awards »

Photos

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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:

In the mind of the police, he's the prime suspect. In the eyes of a killer, he's the next victim. 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

The movie is a remake of the danish movie "Nattevagten". The director of the danish original Ole Bornedal also directed the remake. See more »

Quotes

Martin Bells: The police have a suspect.
James Gallman: Who is it?
Martin Bells: It's me.
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

References The Oprah Winfrey Show (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Pain
Written by Bob Khaleel and John O'Brien
Performed by Super 8
Courtesy of Hollywood Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Sporadically enjoyable thriller which can't live up to its premise
7 April 2007 | by rocking_jamieSee all my reviews

Student Ewan McGregor gets himself a part time job in a morgue, he presumes this will give him some quiet time as he studies for his degree. However, in this morgue the dead don't rest easy- it would appear that a serial killer who also indulges in necrophilia is making occasional visits. Could this just be paranoia on McGregor's part? It would appear not as he soon becomes chief suspect...

This promising premise is let down, in part, through the unsure direction of Ole Bornedal. The film begins in a vein not dissimilar to that of Se7en and seems to be setting up for a serial killer/thriller style. This soon changes to an approach more suited to teen slashers and then switches to a horror style before seeming to flick between them at will. This mix doesn't gel well at all and leaves the film feeling a little lost at times.

Josh Brolin who plays Ewan McGregor's friend in the film plays a character you feel like you have seen a hundred times before in teen slashers: plays by his own rules, pretty unlikeable but has his good side and you have your suspicions about him by the first scene. Ewan McGregor gets the paranoia spot on but is by and large quite forgettable, the same could be aimed at Patricia Arquette.

For its faults, there is still enough on offer to merit a watch. The scenes which take a more horror style approach work very well in the morgue and do give quite a tense atmosphere at times. Also, Nick Nolte turns in an eye-catching and enjoyable performance despite playing a role which you feel he could do in his sleep (he's playing a gruff detective). And Brad Dourif is perfectly cast as the creepy duty doctor, his knowing performance raises a smile.

The film has enough to keep you watching to its conclusion but will leave you disappointed at not being able to fully deliver on what could've been a very affecting thriller.


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