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‘NIGHTWATCH: DEMONS ARE FOREVER’ Movie Review: A darker follow-up Blending nostalgia with grippingly-fresh plot devices

Synopsis: Martin’s daughter, Emma, takes up a night watch job to find out what happened to her parents 30 years ago. A meeting with Wörmer in his cell pulls the serial killer out of his coma and sets in motion a chain of fateful events.

Nightwatch: Demons Are Forever, the belated sequel to the 1994 thriller Nightwatch, pleasantly surprises with its engaging storytelling and atmospheric direction from writer/director Ole Bornedal. As a reviewer who enjoyed the original film on VHS but had little expectations for a sequel, this film stands out as a refreshing addition to Bornedal’s repertoire. While the need for a second movie may have been debatable, Demons Are Forever proves to be a worthy follow-up with its gripping narrative and returning characters, offering fans a satisfying continuation of the original story.

Fanny Leaner Bornedal, the director’s daughter, plays the lead role as Emma and brings a fresh and youthful energy to the character. After her mother’s suicide leaves her father devastated, Emma decides to take on the same night watch job as Martin (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) to uncover long-hidden family secrets. This decision leads her on a terrifying journey of self-discovery as she learns about Wörmer’s hideous crimes. Ulf Pilgaard reprises his role as the murderous former detective, portraying an aged and now blind character with a contrasting performance that is much slimier and more skin-crawlingly gross than before.

Wormer is not the only thing that has changed. Compared to Nightwatch, the sequel takes on a much darker and creepier tone. The director’s shift into slasher territory adds a new layer of intensity to the story as someone begins killing for the incarcerated sicko, drawing Emma, her friends and family deep into mysteries old and new.

The reviewer’s favorite scene in the movie involves two old friends, Martin and Jens (played by the always entertaining Kim Bodina), sneaking into the local football stadium and pretending to score the winning goal, amidst the backdrop of blood, bodies, and intrigue. The interaction between Martin and Jens, as they shoot the breeze, adds a layer of charm to the film, showcasing a moment of lightheartedness amidst the intense storyline. One might speculate whether this scene was a form of wish fulfillment for the director, Bornedal. I know it would be for me.

As a whole, Nightwatch: Demons are Forever is a sequel that was well worth the 3 decade wait, effectively combining just the right amount of nostalgia and grippingly-fresh plot devices. I must also mention before signing off that I watched the film back-to-back with the original and have to say that it makes for a fantastic double-bill.

Verdict:

Nightwatch: Demons are Forever, premieres on Shudder on May 17, 2024.

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