Nocturne Review

"Music is an activity that is bloody," a piano tutor warns in Nocturne. You can repeat that. The incredibly unsettling music school horror film by young filmmaker Zu Quirke takes the observation to the extreme by creating a stunning symphony tension from one student's quest for perfection at an institution that is where any less than perfection means failure. The most nerve-wracking part of the Amazon's To The Blumhouse anthology, the film tells the story of Juliet which is which is played by a stunning Sydney Sweeney, whose competitive relationship with her twin sister causes her to find her notebook from a friend who was recently pushed to suicide. There are a number of gruesome drawings inside which seem to push her toward school achievement, but also an unfathomable level. It's a tense crescendo of terror that reveals Quirke as an exciting new conductor of terror.

Zu Quirke's characters stay grounded and her images unforgettable.

Carmen Cabana's cinematography has a dazzling effect and the usage of music is enthralling as Juliet starts her descent in this Black Swan-like depiction of the sacrifices that great art requires. The director's flourishes are that remind us from the Satanic seduction of Ari Aster's The Hereditary and the film's theme is whether you are willing to take yourself to achieve your goals? Its Faustian agreement that Juliet is able to strike in Nocturne is captivating because it's compelling: Sweeney, previously seen in The Handmaid's Tale and Sharp Objects and Sharp Objects, is adept at finding subtle expressions and fiery eyes which silently express her anger and jealousy towards her sister and her current situation.

The film never veers into a melodrama: Vivian might not possess the academic and romantic success that isn't seen in Juliet however she's not the broad strokes, mean-spirited woman she could be portrayed as. In fact, Quirke keeps her characters grounded, and her scenes are memorable: Nocturne's shocking closing images are like those in Rose Glass' Saint Maud (another study of a girl who is who is in the grip of evil forces) with their dark beauty. It's not the most thrilling ride you'll experience this Halloween however its dark beauty isn't to be missed.

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