Review | Film: Night Night

By Guy Chapman – Navarro County Gazette

There was a lot of local buzz in the early months of 2020 as Corsicana once again became a film set. Night Night, a mystery thriller by Niki Koss (in her directorial debut), finished its production in town just before the pandemic hit, and has now finally seen a release on Apple TV.

Night Night features local creative talent, having been written/produced by Robert Johnson, and co-produced by Amber McNutt. The film’s procedural narrative focuses on April Davis (Brenna D’Amico), a car accident victim trying to recover from her injuries after five months in a coma. Corsicana residents who remember the production’s impressive crash scene from Jan. 2020 will now see how that scene played out in full detail.

After being released from the hospital, April is sent to live in a large home while being cared for by her boyfriend Robert (Nick Marini). While Robert oversees her recovery as an attentive caretaker, suspicions arise that the doting boyfriend may not be exactly what he seems….

The film itself exists in a dreamlike state as April attempts to decipher what is real and what is in her mind. Confined within a large and empty house, she repeatedly finds clues regarding a mysterious family far too coincidentally encountered in online photos. Her personal grief from the accident is marred by guilt and hints of psychosis, as her medication and alcohol mix to the point where its hard to tell where April’s hallucinations begin or end.

One of Night Night‘s most outstanding aspects is its visual style. Using bold, singular colors, the film evokes a signature style similar to Giallo (Italian thriller) films, or the days of Technicolor in its prime during the 1950s. Full of crisp pinks, blues, and reds, these scenes genuinely stand out.

D’Amico, perhaps best known for her role in several of the Descendants movies, takes her first serious dramatic role here. Taylor Gray (Star Wars: Rebels) portrays her self-absorbed and irresponsible brother, Jax. There are also a few character roles from familiar and long-standing actors such as Eric Roberts (The Expendables) and Tony Todd (Candyman) marking their presences in familiar Corsicana locales.

Corsicana itself becomes a character in its own right, as Night Night‘s small town setting is placed directly within familiar Texas territory. Filmed locally, the dramatic narrative makes great use of several recognizable spots and nods to local favorites.

Night Night spins a surreal and complex tale of regret and gaslighting as a young girl struggles to regain control of her life after a reckless night out. The sharp visual effects mix with the story’s ongoing mystery as it poses questions about morality and revenge, yet retains a lingering sense of mystery in the film’s final scenes, hinting the story may not truly be over as the credits begin to scroll….

Night Night is available on Apple TV.

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