Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans



Directed by David Woods.
Starring Zoe Cunningham, Kim Hardy, Susan McCann, Ramona von Pusch, Phil Slatter and Michael E Curran.
Sci-fi, 75 mins, cert 15.


Available to rent or buy through Amazon Prime Video. RRP £7.99.


Mixing elements of BLACK MIRROR and THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU (mainly because of the abundance of hats), along with other works by Philip K Dick, alongside a smattering of dreamy David Lynchian imagery, David Woods’ second feature NIGHTLENS (after his 2011 thriller TILL SUNSET) is an intriguing, mind-bending sci-fi drama.


The story follows a couple, Blake (Kim Hardy) and Kate (Zoe Cunningham), who had a messy break-up four years ago, leaving things unresolved, and their subsequent dealings with a mysterious mind-construct agency called Cerebrics. Blake has employed them to re-create the night of their break-up so that he can put things right. However, it turns out that Kate has also, separately, contacted the agency for similar purposes whilst simultaneously battling an alcohol addiction. Soon their paths collide, bumping into an Australian friend and a sinister old bloke amongst others along the way, with potentially emotionally traumatic results.


This film has clearly been made on a very low budget, and so, with its sparse locations and small cast, it can at times, struggle to do justice to the ambitious script. However, it is confidently directed throughout by Woods. There are some genuinely visually arresting moments, such as the sequence early on with the bright lamp lights outside a burning house and a later scene where the camera sways backwards and forwards between the couple whilst a pinkish haze lights the room, creating an effectively disorientating mood to mirror the state of mind of the characters. Also, there is a really pleasant recurring musical score by Jamie Harper.


The cast gives committed performances (whether they are kissing brains or being sick on a table) and manage to get through some potentially tricky techno-babble dialogue with conviction.


There are a handful of quirky sci-fi elements (a glowing brain in a box) and some effective moments of horror (a shadowy hatted man appearing in Kate’s doorway), but mostly NIGHTLENS is quite a restrained and serious affair and so not for someone looking for a pulpy fun B-Movie. It’s very quiet and contemplative in its tone, and so is more geared towards those that like more thoughtful genre pieces and who are willing to give their attention to something with a little bit of a slower pace.


Overall, NIGHTLENS will not be to everyone’s taste as it’s not loud and flashy, but if you’re willing to give a small film with big ideas a chance, you might enjoy it. Woods, and the rest of the cast and crew, clearly have talent and interesting ideas, and I’m excited to see what they work on next.


John Upton.


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Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans