October brought about one of the most fun and exciting holidays, Halloween. Every year kids dress up in costumes and go trick or treating while people who are too old for this go looking for a good scare. In recent years one of the favorite places for people to go to be scared has been the cinema. Each October brings many new horror films made to give people a good fright. This year was different though. There was no wave of horror films as there usually is before Halloween this year; instead there was one horror film, Stiles White’s Ouija. When it was released it was met with very mixed to negative reviews leaving little to be desired from the Halloween box office. Luckily, this changed on Halloween night with the release of Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler.
Few of the modern horror films do their job anymore, to scare, shock or simply terrify the audience. Many of Hollywood’s modern horror cinema leaves little more than cheap thrills; this is where Nightcrawler begins to change things. It doesn’t seem like it would be a very disturbing film, but it delivers more than any American horror film of the past several years. Nightcrawler tells the disturbing tale of Lou Bloom, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, and his unnerving descent into madness in order to achieve his American dream. In order to do this he begins a career in filming breaking news stories. Apart from Lou Bloom there is a powerful performance from Renee Russo, who plays a news producer and Bloom's connection in the world of ‘nightcrawling’.
It is hard to imagine how a movie about a man filming news stories can be so creepy and disturbing. Once you see that almost every story involves a person being killed or seriously injured you begin to feel restless. One of the main factors that contributes to the film's creepiness and intensity is Gyllenhall’s portrayal of Bloom, whose skeletal frame and sociopathic descent makes the character even more terrifying. Gyllenhaal’s performance and a well-executed script make the film something more than a typical psychological thriller.
Nightcrawler marks the first time for Gilroy in the director’s chair as he takes his own script to the screen. Gilroy is also the writer of the latest film in the Bourne series, The Bourne Legacy (Gilroy, 2012), which was directed by his brother, Tony. Although there are a few problems with the pacing of the film, this occurs early on and by the second half the film finds its pace. The flow of the movie takes the viewer on the stomach-churning journey into the mind of a man who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. This can be quite upsetting to watch, but there is a gracefulness to it, one that makes the film more intense and believable. This is the type of film one would want to see on Halloween, not one with cheap thrills and a poorly executed script, but one that takes the viewer on a dark trip into the underbelly of human nature.
For those looking for a film to captivate and still give them that great horror thrill than look no further, for Nightcrawler delivers where other films come up short. It brings an almost perfect blend of a love for film and thrill seeking. The intensity of the film tends to also make it a physical experience, which is something that is hard to get from a movie anymore. This is not a film to be taken lightly, it is a dark and twisted tale that often shocks and horrifies the audience, but this is what makes the movie great. Nightcrawler, despite its bleak nature, is an enthralling film that is not to be missed.