James Jay Edwards reviews Nocturne and Evil Eye, Blumhouse’s next two entries in the Welcome to The Blumhouse series on Amazon Prime. (Amazon Prime)
Last week, we covered The Lie and Black Box, the first two entries into Blumhouse Productions’ new film series Welcome to The Blumhouse. Now, we’ve got the remaining two: Nocturne and Evil Eye.
Nocturne is about a young pianist named Juliet (Sydney Sweeney from The Handmaid’s Tale) who, while a world-class talent herself, is constantly standing in the shadow of her twin sister, Vivian (Annabelle Comes Home’s Madison Iseman), also an amazing pianist. When a tragedy at their arts high school opens up a solo spot in a big recital, both girls audition. But knowing that her sister has the inner track, Juliet searches for sinister ways to even the playing field.
(Nocturne and Evil Eye, official poster, Blumhouse Productions)
Evil Eye is about a young Indian woman in New Orleans named Pallavi (Sunita Mani) whose mother back in Delhi, Usha (Sarita Choudhury), is always hounding her to find a husband. So, when Pallavi meets the perfect man for her, a rich young fellow named Sandeep (Omar Maskati), Usha is thrilled. That is, until Usha starts the believe that Sandeep is the reincarnation of an ex-boyfriend who tried to kill her decades before.
Just as it did with The Lie and Black Box, Blumhouse Productions has given a shot with Nocturne and Evil Eye to talented, first-time filmmakers who the studio feels can make the most of the break. Nocturne was written and directed by Zu Quirke, who has, up until now, only made short films. Similarly, Evil Eye was made by directors Elan Dassani and Rajeev Dassani, both of whom cut their teeth doing visual effects for years before this chance, from a script written by Madhuri Shekar (Titus and Dronicus). With these movies, Blumhouse is developing its bench.
(Nocturne, Blumhouse Productions)
Nocturne sneakily retells the Faustian story, also tossing in a bit of the good old jealous sibling motif for good measure. The less-celebrated twin turns to the occult to get what she wants, but does so unwittingly, playing with things which she does not fully understand that, ultimately, betray her. Her frustration at being the “second best” at everything she does gets the better of her, and she takes it all out on her sister. And some of what happens is predictable, but most of it isn’t. As an added bonus, the musical selections in Nocturne are top-notch, which is important, since the backbone of the movie is music.
Evil Eye dives headfirst into the Hindu theories of reincarnation and past lives, weaving a story about a man who has come back from the grave to torment his former lover by way of her daughter. It’s one of those unreliable narrator movies; the audience believes that the mother believes what is happening, but is it the real story, or is she crazy? It all comes out in the end, but for much of the running time, the audience doesn’t quite know what to expect. And that’s great.
(Evil Eye, Blumhouse Productions)
Like the other entries in the Welcome to The Blumhouse series, Nocturne and Evil Eye feel like television movies, much more watered down productions than the traditional Blumhouse horror fare. Evil Eye gets deeper with its philosophy and mythology, but Nocturne is the stronger movie. Neither are as good as Black Box, though. All four movies in the Welcome to The Blumhouse series are well worth the time, but Black Box is the clear frontrunner.