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Mixed or average reviews - based on 32 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 46 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Night Watch is the first installment of a trilogy based on the best-selling Russian sci-fi novels of Sergei Lukyanenko (which also includes Day Watch and Dusk Watch). This visionary horror fantasy film features a dazzling mix of mind-blowing effects, adrenaline-fuelled action and suspenseful terror. (Fox Searchlight) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 32
  2. Negative: 2 out of 32
  1. A contemporary Russian movie that you could honestly call revolutionary, more for its style than its politics.
  2. The plot has something to do with the primordial battle between light and dark forces in the universe, and though several critics have written that it contains everything but the kitchen sink, I beg to differ. I saw a kitchen sink spinning around in there, too.
  3. A wildly entertaining fantasy thriller that propels Russian cinema into the 21st century.
  4. 63
    Night Watch represents the best in Russian special effects, a collaboration between 42 different CGI specialty firms all working in the service of a single goal: to create the nation's most visually transgressive film.
  5. 60
    Despite its cheesy blood and thunder and ludicrous "Sunshine Makers" metaphysics, this is the funniest apocalypse I've seen since George Romero's "Land of the Dead."
  6. Despite the film's abundant gory effects, its best technical achievement may be its English subtitles, which move about the screen for better visual and emotional impact, and sometimes dissolve into poofs of blood or other colored effects.
  7. A fractious fiasco: whiplash camera movement set to raging blasts of death metal, a story so incoherent it made me wish I was watching, instead, the collected outtakes from Van Helsing.

See all 32 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 26
  2. Negative: 5 out of 26
  1. Jun 21, 2011
    6
    One of the major problems with sci-fi/fantasy as genre in movies is that most good made up worlds have complex rules behind them, and over the course of an entire movie length, it's difficult to explain all these rules. This is why the genre has caught on so well in novels, graphic novels, video games, but never film.

    In this sense, **** is ambitious. It's universe is EXTREMELY complex, and takes things from all kinds of different mythologies. Unfortunately, because the movie wants to explain everything while at the same time not getting bogged down with too much exposition, it feels like you have to pause every once in a while and seriously think about what is happening to understand it. If you leave it entirely to the movie itself to explain the plot, you'll end up confused. You'll need to remember every word that is said, and even then you'll have to think about what it all adds up to to grasp it. If you do, you'll be rewarded with a very interesting and well thought out setting and plot.

    The unfortunate part is that it all becomes convoluted. And at some points, it breaks some of its own rules. For these parts, even I'm at a loss. But there is a good deal of entertainment to be found here.

    The entire direction of the movie is stylistic. While there isn't really that much action, everything is shot in an action-packed way, and there's a strange sort of surreality to the world the film presents. A lot of the time, it's cool. But sometimes, the stylistic nature of the movie is so over-the-top that it becomes silly, like when Dark Others, upon using a lot of power, will suddenly start screaming while twitching like they're having a seizure. Maybe it was supposed to be weird or disturbing. It ended up laughable.

    Another gripe is the ending. I know this is the first movie in a trilogy, but the ending feels so awkward, rushed, and haphazardly crafted that it feels like it needed a subplot or two removed (one of the many) to get the movie a little bit more time to explain it.

    Overall, however, **** is fairly entertaining. If you're a horror or urban fantasy fan, this movie may be up your alley, and for better or worse, you'll never see anything like it.
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  2. Sep 13, 2010
    5
    Russian film where the the Forces of Light battle the Forces of Dark in a nutshell. Vampires, decent effects & general all round mayhem.
    Borrowing from Star Wars, LOTR & the Matrix to name a few, it is very slick & well directed.
    I can see why it is considered a "cult" classic but really not my thing at all.
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  3. Jul 4, 2012
    4
    Night Watch has a strong central performance from Konstantin Khabensky playing Anton, a troubled soul tasked with protecting the world from the forces of evil. The film has a strong central theme, not only of good vs. evil, but of the complex relationship between these moral extremes. The story also incorporates some interesting ideas in terms of representations of the supernatural on film. Vampires in Night Watch, for instance, have the ability to appear invisible and are only forced to reveal themselves in the reflection of a mirrored surface, and the practice of black magic is shown through the miraculous appearance of swarms of mosquitoes and swirling clouds of ravens. The film is notable for being one of the first true Russian blockbusters, and its relatively glossy appearance shows this. There are some impressive effects, particularly those incorporating sorcerers shape-shifting from human to animal form, though extended CGI-reliant sequences tend to look a bit jarring and unrealistic due to the film's limited resources. The narrative of Night Watch is incredibly unevenly paced, the story is convoluted to say the least, and it becomes utterly incomprehensible at an alarming rate. The film for the most part feels incredibly disjointed, with many scenes seemingly having no relation to anything we've seen previously. You do have to acknowledge that at least writer/director Timur Bekmambetov has some definite talent in terms of artistic vision, and he appears to be trying to produce a supernatural/vampire thriller that is just a little bit different from the norm, though the end result doesn't quite work. Expand

See all 26 User Reviews

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