Nightwatch (Nattevagten)

Director: Ole Bornedal
Screenwriters: Ole Bornedal

Institute History

  • 1995 Sundance Film Festival


Denmark isn’t known for its thrillers, but Nightwatch has outgrossed Jurassic Park on its home turf. And what better midnight rendezvous than this relentlessly haunting chiller?

Is it in the early shots of the morgue, where Martin, a young Dane, has just been hired, that we first feel uneasy? Or does it happen as we track him on his rounds, down the fluorescent-lit hallway with one faulty blinking bulb signaling the entrance to the body vault? Maybe it’s during the truth-or-dare game he plays with his best friend that we hear the familiar ring of imminent dread. If you aren’t hooked by this time, you know you are in for it when the bloody trail of a serial killer, the scalped bodies of prostitutes, begins appearing. What began as a quiet job, perfect for a young student, turns into a nightmare as fingers begin to be pointed toward Martin.

Ole Bornedal, who wrote and directed Nightwatch, executes the film with the skill of a surgeon, clean and unyielding. The action unfolds like a methodical puzzle where both you and Martin must race to put the pieces together to save his life. But who is doing this, or is it coincidence? And what secrets does Martin have? Nightwatch is a “must see” for the daring if they relish excellent filmmaking.

— John Cooper

Screening Details

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