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Atmospheric thriller 'Nightworld' delivers too little, too late

Atmospheric thriller 'Nightworld' delivers too little, too late
Jason London in the movie "Nightworld." (Open Frames Ltd. / Gravitas Ventures)

There's a whole lot of buildup without much payoff in "Nightworld," a supernatural Euro-thriller that spends most of its time teasing the arrival of some dreadful evil, then only leaves itself about 15 minutes at the end for literal hell to break loose.

Jason London stars as Brett, an ex-cop who recovers from multiple personal and professional tragedies by taking a security job at a creepy old building in Sofia, Bulgaria. He's meant to watch the monitors, report anything unusual to a mysterious blind consultant named Jacob (Robert Englund), and not ask questions about the locked doors with Lovecraftian monster-carvings in the basement.

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When Brett starts suffering from extended blackouts and nightmarish hallucinations, he looks into the history and purpose of his new home. Annoyingly, he's one of those fantasy film protagonists who doubts everything and learns nothing, which means his investigation grinds along slowly — until it's almost too late.

London is adequate (if not exactly magnetic) as the lead, and director Patricio Valladares gives the film a rich, shadowy look that almost compensates for the turgid pace and distractingly incessant score.

But perhaps because "Nightworld" doesn't have much new to add to the demon-haunting genre, it's more invested in watching Brett skulk around dark hallways than in what he's going to find. And while subtle, moody horror films can be great, without something solid to coalesce around, eventually the atmosphere dissipates.

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‘Nightworld’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 31 minutes.

Playing: Arena Cinelounge, Hollywood

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