Streaming Review: “Welcome to the Blumhouse Presents ‘Nocturne'”

  • NOCTURNE
  • Starring: stars Sydney Sweeney, Madison Iseman, Jacques Colimon
  • Directed by: Zu Quirke
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Running time: 1hr 30 mins
  • Blumhouse Productions

After tragedy strikes the student body of a prestigious boarding school, a pair of talented twin musicians return home to visit their parents. Whilst entertaining guests you learn that one of their classmates has died by suicide and, via their parents’ snobby friends inquiries,  that the twins will be going separate ways the following school year. Shy and inexperienced Juliet (Sydney Sweeney) has to hustle to keep up with her more accomplished sister Vivian (Madison Iseman), whom everything seems to come naturally and more abundantly for — multiple suitors, praise from family and teaching staff and, most importantly, a coveted spot at Juilliard. 

When the girls return to school, it is announced that the recently deceased student has opened a highly contested slot at the Senior Concert. Rumors fly that perhaps Juilliard will send scouts and both sisters decide to audition but during her preparation, Juliet finds a notebook left behind by their former classmate, billowing with dark scrawlings and chilling sketches. 

After taking ownership of the notebook, a series of highly uncharacteristic social misadventures reveals that Juliet has seemingly made somewhat of a Faustian deal to propel her musical career towards stardom.

 With a backdrop of unlikable adult figures insisting on managing expectations, railing against the social media narratives of achievable stardom for all, Juliet retorts that she doesn’t even have social media and should be removed from being lumped in with her generation’s  sense of entitlement. But will she be able to resist the temptation as the world starts coming to her oh-so-much more freely?Sydney Sweeney shines here, giving a truly emotional performance.

Despite the supernatural elements at play, there is still very much a reminder of the pain and traumas that so many young girls have to survive while navigating the social hierarchy of high school. Even amongst a very specialized niche population, that “Mean Girls” chapter plays a hard hand between these sisters. I very much enjoyed Nocturne and won’t do it the disservice of suggesting anyone seriously compare it Argento’s “Suspiria” or Luca Guadagnino’s reimagining of it but horror fans would be hard pressed to not notice some at least basic themes pulled from there and I can easily offer it up as a modern companion to the 70s giallo classic.

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