Movie Review: Nightlight (2015)


In this 2015 found-footage horror film, Robin (Shelby Young), Nia (Chloe Bridges), Chris (Carter Jenkins), Ben (Mitch Hewer) and Amelia (Taylor Murphy) head into a dark forest, with a storied history of suicides and a demonic presence. The teens begin the night with some flashlight games, which only end when they utter their safe word, Nightlight. A handful of rowdy, sex obsessed teens in a mysterious forest with a dark past; what could possibly go wrong?

+ the whole film is shot in first person, from the perspective of the flashlights themselves, but somehow never manages to be disorienting (compared to something like, say, Cloverfield). Often the torches are placed on something, so they act as a normal camera as the actors stay in view, before being picked up and moved around again
+ because of the above, lots of the horror comes from things happening just out of the radius of the light, which often works very effectively at building some tension

– there are lots of very standard jump scares (such as something simply ‘being there’ when the light focuses on it). Jump scares are great at making you jump, but there is never any real horror behind it. Similarly, there are numerous ‘scare chords’ accompanying these, which comes across as taking the cheap way out
– the plot is rather confusing. This is potentially intentional, because of course things are not necessarily quite as they seem, but it doesn’t do much to help you grow attached to whoever is holding your torch, because it is never entirely clear who it is

Should you see this film: The film is simple and safe, which unfortunately makes it very routine. A somewhat confusing plot, with some very hit-and-miss scares makes it one you’d do best to just avoid.

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