Two burglars break into a house with a bleak history and tell each other tales of science fiction and horror. As the tales are told, the burglars are soon going to witness the past of the house themselves.
The newest entry to the Irish new wave comes from a filmmaker whose name you might recognize. Gerard Lough has made 3 short films that we've reviewed in the past. They're called "The Stolen Wings" and "Ninety Seconds". Like the past two shorts, "Night People" is a bit of a mystery starring Michael Parle. The big problem that "Night People" ended up having, unlike the other two, is that it is way too long at almost 2 hours long, and that's despite being three stories in one.
"Night People" starts with two burglars breaking into an old house that has its dark secrets. They sit down and get to talking, and tell each other stories. The first story is about two friends who discover a strange, alien device that seems to be able to open another dimension. With such power, it comes as no surprise that the friends' relationship with each other is tested.
The second story is about a woman wants to move away from her shady line of work, but the new life brings on other changes. This episode definitely speaks more to the horror fantastics out there rather than the science fiction lovers, but with its slow pace it never reaches the height you might expect.
Two of the three stories (the third being the wrapping story) feel way too long, and that's a serious issue when you're watching an anthology. It also seems like Gerard Lough's script has no problem not entertaining, because while there are interesting ideas in here, it barely ever invites the audience to actually care (if that makes sense?). The stories are heavy on dialogue, convoluted, and with little "action" going on, so the audience feels alienated from the start of the second story (the wrapping story is actually the best, and easiest to get into). It's a shame that there doesn't seem to be much consideration for entertainment here. We're watching what could be an intriguing independent sci-fi horror, but instead it just feels like a jog that's 30 minutes longer than your body can take. This is not the first review where someone admits to have had to watch the movie in small doses.
As mean as the above paragraph might sound, I think that Gerard Lough is an interesting filmmaker. This, and his previous work, have all proven that he doesn't go for the conventional and he definitely has a sense of style. But I don't think that "Night People" works well as a feature. Maybe if the stories were shown on their own, and cut down, they'd be a lot more accessible to watch.
The actors aren't bad, but Michael Parle is yet again the light of the show in another Irish indie flick. His acting stands out in the best way possible, and his presence helps carrying the wrapping story about the burglars. I also enjoyed some of the device props created for the film, some which could have been incredibly effective in a darker, more horror heavy movie.
I went into "Night People" with high hopes, and it's a movie I have wanted to watch for quite some time based on the previous work of the people behind it. Unfortunately it was not a very fun experience for me. I'm not doubting that some will enjoy this slow, dialogue driven, and odd sci-fi anthology, but it'll require some serious focus. The production is not always flawless (some sound issues and whatnot) but that wasn't a problem for me. It simply never managed to pull me in at any point of its 108 min runtime.