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Review: 'Welcome To The Blumhouse: Nocturne' A Well-Trodden Tale

by Kevin Taft
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Monday Oct 12, 2020
'Welcome To The Blumhouse: Nocturne'
'Welcome To The Blumhouse: Nocturne'  

For the next round of Blumhouse Television thrillers, we begin with the "Black Swan"-inspired "Welcome to Blumhouse: Nocturne." This series of films from horror producer Jason Blum feel like Lifetime knock-offs with better actors and a bigger budget. That said, every film could be cut down to a 55-minute episode for a time-passing series that would move a lot quicker and cut all the dead-weight scenes... of which there are a lot.

Instead, we get films that feel sometimes confused, but also glacially paced and repetitive.

In this installment we find ourselves following introvert Juliet (Sydney Sweeney) and her energetic sister Vivian (Madison Iseman) as they both pursue music careers as pianists. While Vivian is heading to Julliard, the glum Juliet is taking a gap year to figure things out. You see, Juliet doesn't feel like she's as good as her sister, and no one in her superficial family realizes her gloomy demeanor means something is wrong with her.

When a student kills herself on campus, Juliet accidentally finds the last piece the violinist was working on, a "nocturne." Inside the music are pages of odd drawings and symbols that make Juliet curious. Before you know it, Juliet is having unusual visions, and bad things start happening to people around her. She puts two and two together and realizes the music has something to do with it. At the same time, she is excelling in her craft, and it's being noticed by her peers and teachers. So... why mention it?

What is supposed to be Juliet making a Faustian bargain to be better than her sister is more so Juliet just sort of being more confident while the supernatural forces in the book take over. No bargain is ever made. There is no catalyst for her to take more control of her life and let terrible things happen to those around her.

Sweeney is good here, as she is in everything ("Euphoria" "Waves"), but she is saddled with a bland script and not enough to really dig her acting chops into. Zu Quirke writes and directs this tepid thriller that doesn't have a lot of stakes except "what is this force hurting people and is it really going to get me into Julliard? If so, what's the price?"

We've seen this all before. This might have been interesting if there were bigger stakes or a twist on the familiar theme, but there isn't. A nocturne is a short composition. Perhaps the filmmakers should have taken a cue from that.

"Welcome To The Blumhouse: Nocturne" begins streaming at Amazon Prime on Oct. 13.

Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to 'Star Wars' and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg.

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