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3.7 out of 5 stars
Nightwatch [DVD]
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 15 August 2002
The first time I saw this I turned out the lights. Big mistake. I was almost behind the sofa at one point! Yes, its big on moody style and low on real drama but anyone who has worked a night shift somewhere creepy can identify with Martin Bells and his new job - the scenes where he patrols the basement morgue for the first time is truly creepy and stayed with me for a long time. I can rate this as one of my favourite suspense films. Good for a dark winter's evening with the wind whistling outside...
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 11 July 2004
This movie had the same effect on me as the previous reviewer.
On first watching it, I initialy felt disappointment as the movie felt slow to develop or to display much of a focused plotline.
But that does change.
The movie is very cleverly done - one of the most atmospheric and unnerving I have seen in a while. The clever use of setpieces and camerwork come together to provide some particularly uncomfortable scenes: ones where you are justing waiting for that something to jump out at you.
It's really hard to give you a rundown of the storyline as it's quite complex but also this would give much of the movie's secret away.
It is, as the last reviewer said, one of those movies that I can't get out of my head.
If you want something not run of the mill; something with a bit of character and depth - this is defintely one worth veiwing.
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on 15 August 2000
Like the Vanishing and La Femme Nikita before it, the original Nightwatch makes its American remake (with Ewan MacGregor) pale in comparison.
The power of this version is its ability to shock, to take you unawares. It's intrinsically dark, and, be warned, definitely not for the faint-hearted.
To tell you anything of the plot would ruin the whole effect of the film. Let's just say that murder, necrophilia, and a drunken bet are at the heart of the story.
My advice is simple, turn off the lights, pour yourself a stiff (no pun intended) drink , and prepare to be scared witless. Oh, and another thing, don't even think of watching this film on your own.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 11 November 2010
The scene is set, a young man gets a job as a night watch in a morgue and we emmediately expects ghosts and other paranormal performances. However, being typically Danish, this film goes deeper than the usual scare and creepy crawleys. As so many other Danish films, this film certainly takes a good look at the various relationships people have with each other, and the viewer will undoubtedly question these during the film. A psychological thriller with quite a bit of good Danish humor. Watch it !
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on 22 December 2003
This is the A1 archetypal reason European cineam wipes the floor with Hollywood every time. Bornedals Nightwatch is an exercise in true brilliance. Its takes a fun premise, and expertly weaves a tale of horror, revulsion, sex, relationships, love, friendship and the best sense of humour in modern european cinema.
Its cast is far superior than the remake, and watching the US version first makes you appreciate how good Bornedals original is. The three central characters are far superior in wit, talent and execution, and are unforgettably charming. The black sense of humour contrasted with such effective and intense chills leaves you gobsmacked.
It is unforgettably frightening, with a conclusion which leaves you talking as the rest of the film so aptly does. You must see this phenomenal picture.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I really did enjoy this movie, most people would probably say that it is far from one of Ewan McGregor's best works, I'd go along with that but 'Nightwatch' is still a great suspense thriller.

Martin Bells (McGregor) is a college student who is hopeful to make some money for himself by taking a job as a watch man at the old city morgue. What he originally believes to be an easy job for easy cash, soon proves to be much more difficult than first expected. A mysterious serial killer has been murdering prostitutes, before he kills them, he makes them play dead. Now, the murderer starts to stalk Martin on his night shifts by playing sick mind games with the dead corpses. It is all very creepy, sometimes quite funny in parts and Ewan McGregor and the rest of the big name cast are excellent in their roles.

I have yet to see the original Danish version of this film. However, if it is even better than this 1997 remake, I really should.
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This is an effective little Danish horror/thriller from 1994, rather misleadingly marketed by mentioning "Saw" and "Se7en" on the cover; this marketing ploy has done the film no favours - it isn't anything like the American genre studio products, nor is it a big budget, star-led opus.
"Nightwatch" as befits its Nordic origin, is a modest, well-paced creeping chiller and judged by that standard its pretty good, in my opinion.
The plot, in brief; Martin - a young law student - takes a job as a night watchman at a forensic medical morgue at a time when a serial killer is on a killing spree. He and his friend have a dare-contest going on between them, which leads to some practical jokes that go too far, resulting in Martin becoming a suspect.
The film is both well made and acted; a young Sofie Gråbøl (from TV's The Killing) plays a strong supporting role as Kalinka, Martin's girlfriend. Kim Bodnia, (Frank from Pusher, the seminal gangster film) plays Jens, Martin's rather dodgy friend.
This is one of those films that is adult in theme and leaves the viewer thinking they saw more than they actually did - it isn't the gore-fest some might expect but remains suitably gristly nevertheless.
The one uncomfortable scene I found involved Jens` cruel humiliation of a pathetic female character - you'll know which scene I`m talking about if you see the film. Although it serves a purpose in the plot, it was distastefully misogynistic. It isn't difficult to work out who the killer is and there are some elements that will test your credibility, but generally it's a well realised little film.
The presentation is widescreen in Danish language with English subtitles only; the "behind the scenes" documentary Runs for 28 mins.
I picked my copy up from a local store for a very good price; if you don`t pay too much and accept it for what it is, you have nothing to lose. I found it enjoyable and suitably different from the standard American fare.
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on 3 December 2010
Martin Bells(Ewan McGregor) is no different from most students? He's poor and desperate to find a way to find extra cash and when a job comes up as night watchman at the morgue in the city that happens to be in a desolate old part where no-one goes he jumps at the opportunity.
He meets the retiring watchman who tells him his duties, the pitfalls of the job and just enough to scare him rigid having taken him for a visit to a morgue filled to overflowing.
As Martin takes over, bodies start to arrive thick and fast when a serial-killer begins a reign of terror leaving enough clues that unfortunately point to Martin being the murderer.
Patricia Arquette who plays Martins girlfriend is at one crime scene when the murderer is stil there. Who does she see? Is it Martins best-friend (Josh Brolin)?
Perhaps the Doctor from the mortuary - Brad Dourif? It couldn't be the Police Inspector (Nick Nolte) or his Sgt surely?
Some parts of this DVD are quite comical but others LITERALLY scare the pants off you with the shadows, flickering lights and dark hospital-like corridors that echo all the time.
Well worth a watch and 4****
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on 13 October 2001
I never had the patience to sit and watch a subtitled film but I could not move during this ! It is disturbing but with black humour thrown in. The worst part was waiting for the red alarm light to sound in the morgue security desk when the main character was studying. The camera work was inspired and the inference that a corpse could be on the move in the hospital was truly frightening. Buy this NOW !
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on 4 September 2014
Weird watching this as it was pretty good specifically Josh Brolin who was somewhat of an enigma and also quite a staple for some mens feeling at that age when you may feel like you are not living the life you wanted and the fun has gone but the ending has Ewan Mcgregor change into a massive wig. he has flat hair at the start, middle and end but as hes talking to his girlfriend just before the credits role he so obviously has the wig from the film A life less ordinary on as its got crazy long sideburns and spikey hair. it really distracts from the film to see that. i think he was working on both films at the time and with Miramax on both but it made me laugh out loud but not only that it was the only memorable thing about this film. i liked the idea as it was somewhat hammer horror like in a morgue but its obvious whats going on and predictable come the end which takes the entertainment away. Worth a watch but not something many will come back to and if they do its for the hair switch conspiracy.
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