Think THE REVENANT, only with a female protagonist, and it bites harder and punches deeper. Or maybe I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE done up with quality instead of just titillation. That’s the gist of writer/director/producer Jennifer Kent’s THE NIGHTINGALE, the follow-up to her stunning debut effort THE BABADOOK. THE NIGHTINGALE should have been in the running for both Best International and Best Picture at the recent Oscars. It is that good.
Some might argue that THE NIGHTINGALE is not a Horror movie. I would have to respectfully disagree. It all depends on how one chooses to define “Horror,” but there are scenes in this movie more horrific than anything you’ll see in any slasher flick or ghost story. The violence here is so brutal because it is *real*. There’s no comfortable separation where you can reassure yourself, as the poster for LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT encouraged us to do, that “it’s only a movie.” The story may be a work of fiction, but it reflects truth, ugly, unflinching truth. Gorgeously filmed on location and set during the bleak 1820s on Tasmania, it demonstrates once again that the worst kind of evil is banal human evil. Horrific and beautiful, THE NIGHTINGALE is must viewing for anyone who cares about hard-hitting quality filmmaking.
I have to agree with my lovely better half, though. The movie ought to have been titled THE NIGHTINGALE AND THE BLACKBIRD, because, well, you’ll understand once you’ve seen the movie.