43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
Fresh blood for the vampire genre,
This review is from: Night Watch [DVD] (DVD)
Since I was knee high to a lycanthrope I’ve been obsessed with Vampires and their mythology. While other kids were running around playing cowboys and Indians or army games I was hanging out in trees or dark dank places playing vampires. Needless to say I was usually on my own and I really should have stopped when I reached my teens but the fascination continues today which is why I was slavering when I heard about “Night Watch” There hasn’t been a great vampire movie since “Near Dark” in the 80,s. Now there has. I’m so thrilled I think I’ll bring my red contact lenses out of retirement.
Set in modern day Moscow “Night Watch” concentrates on the conflict and balance between the forces of light and dark which is the result of truce forged in mediaeval times between the two sides. The forces of the dark watch the super-human “Others” who are a sort of more committed version of Neighbourhood watch and vice versa. But there is a prophecy as per usual that predicts that one day a “Other” will emerge who will tip the equilibrium one way or the other. Well guess who’s new on the scene?
Directed by Timor Bikmambetov and adapted from the novels by Sergei Lukyanenko this is the first instalment of a trilogy (“Day Watch” has already been completed while the final film “Dusk Watch” rumoured to have English dialogue instead of the Russian should begin filming soon.). It takes the frankly desiccated mythology of the vamphyr, mangled by Hollywood dogma and gives it an infusion of verve and imagination. The history of vampires in the cinema has been given a shot in the arm .New blood if you like.
The plot is overly complex at times with characters popping up , quite literally at times , but this is a hugely ambitious undertaking so an overly complicated screenplay can be forgiven and one hopes that it will reach fruition in the later films. The films final quarter gets bogged down a bit but really that’s a minor gripe when you consider what is on offer here.
While eschewing much of what we usually see in vampire films -garlic, crucifixes, capes swishing like long black swishy things- the film, to some extent like Coppolas version of Dracula revels in stylistic flourishes and sheer creative brio. The special effects are outstanding to say they were achieved on funds equivalent to most major stars hair gel budget. And the things you see. Dolls that sprout spiders legs and then attack, a huge flock (or is it murder?)of crows swirling like a mammoth portentous cloud above an apartment building, vampires that can only be seen IN mirrors. Memorable images come thick and fast, and the depth of imagination isn’t just utilised for the film, but for the subtitles which occasionally see the text size. Appearance and colour altered to match a characters nuances and moods.
As part of a trilogy “Night Watch” does suffer from the indomitable fact that it is setting up the premise and characters for the following films, where in a stand alone film it would be less complicated, have more of a narrative flow and be more evenly paced. But as the first of a trilogy after seeing the film the salient question to be asked is do you want to see the next instalment? This reviewer answers very much in the affirmative. In truth I cannot wait. We are talking potentially here, a real horror classic. Let’s just hope it turns out to be a kinetic “Lord Of The Rings” with fangs rather than a ponderous too in love with its own mythology “Matrix”.