Nightworld: Lost Souls (1998)

Directed by Jeff Woolnough [Other horror films: Strange Frequency 2 (2002), The House Next Door (2006)]

Known best as just Lost Souls (if it’s known at all), this television movie didn’t reinvent the wheel, but in it’s low-budget tackling of a somewhat common story, I found the movie quite serviceable.

Now, I saw this once before many years back, and about the only thing I remembered was the conclusion, so I didn’t get to relive the surprise, but even so, I like how the film focuses on the mystery of unsolved murders and throws multiple suspects out at us, many of them feeling like real possibilities. The idea of supernatural forces from beyond the grave helping people solve an old murder isn’t new, but it was done well, and with feeling.

Communicating through an autistic girl was a nice touch, because both parents here (played by John Savage and Barbara Sukowa) got to see their daughter do more than she’s been able to do (such as sing), and though it’s just a cheap television flick, I still liked that this had heart.

On that note, the horror here isn’t nearly what many fans might be looking for. It might even feel more like a supernatural drama at times, but when you throw in mystery and the decently suspenseful conclusion, I don’t see why all that many people would have an issue seeing this as a horror film, light as it might be.

John Savage is a bigger name, though I’ve only seen him in a handful of low-budget horror movies (such as The Attic). He does pretty well here, and I love the lengths he goes through to both figure out the answer to the old crime and protect his family. His wife, played by Barbara Sukowa, didn’t nearly interest me as much, but both children (Nick Deigman and Laura Harling) are solid, with Harling’s performance perhaps being the best. Richard Lintern was pretty good too.

Nightworld: Lost Souls isn’t anything that special, but I find myself enjoying it more than expected. I definitely liked it the first time I saw this, and it’s pretty much had the same impact on me this time around. It’s not stellar as far as made-for-television horror goes, but hell, I liked it. Sue me, brahs.

8/10

This is one of the many films covered on Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss this movie.

In a Dark Place (2006)

Directed by Donato Rotunno [Other horror films: N/A]

This would be the third time I’ve seen this film, and I have the same lukewarm reaction I did the first few times. In a Dark Place, another rendition of The Turn of the Screw (the most famous being 1961’s The Innocents) is not really a bad film. But it fails to really go above and beyond what it could have been.

The ambiguity (is it a ghost movie? are the children possessed? is our main character just losing it?) inherent in the original story certainly remains in this rendition, to the annoyance of some viewers. By the end, nothing is necessarily for certain, though I personally feel clues do lead to one central conclusion.

The acting here isn’t overly stellar, and the lesbian subplot just seems a tad odd, but I appreciate them wanting to add a little something to the story. In some ways, this feels like a slow-burner, though whether it pays off at the end is up for each viewer to decide. I’m not a giant fan of the ending, but then again, I wouldn’t have expected much else. In a Dark Place isn’t a bad movie. It’s just not that memorable.

6.5/10