Nightwatch: Demons Are Forever movie review (2024)
Movie Reviews

Nightwatch: Demons Are Forever movie review (2024)

It’s the present day, and another murderer is hovering around the Saint Hans Psychiatric Hospital. Emma (Fanny Leander Bornedal), the daughter of Martin (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), the original movie’s antihero protagonist, must stop the killing. Emma’s understandably hung up on what happened to her father after the events of “Nightwatch,” which left that movie’s antagonist, the deranged hospital superintendent Dr. Wormer (Ulf Pilgaard), blind and alone in a hospital cell. Also, Martin is now hooked on pills following the suicide of Kalinka (Sofie Grabol, not in this movie), his traumatized partner, and Emma’s mother.

To revive her dad, Emma takes the same night shift job that Martin had in the last movie. At the same time, a copycat killer emerges. Some glaring signs implicate Bent (Casper Kjaer Jensen), a disturbed albino hospital patient who refers to himself in the third person as “it.” Bent is also the least troubling aspect of Emma and Martin’s paint-by-numbers journey to closure.

In addition to taking up Martin’s old job, Emma also takes after her father by behaving recklessly with her twenty-something friends, though never with as much self-destructive abandon. In “Nightwatch,” Martin and his buddy Jens (Kim Bodnia) are callow chauvinists who drink too much and act up around women, like Jens’s horrified girlfriend Lotte (Vibeke Hastrup). Lotte returns for “Nightwatch: Demons Are Forever” but soon gets sidelined to make room for Emma and her pals Maria (Nina Rask) and Sofus (Sonny Lindberg). They drink too much and say inappropriate things, like when Maria jokes, “What if my naked body is Google Maps, and my c*** is a fishing village?” which isn’t much funnier in context. Emma also has a doofy boyfriend, Frederik (Alex Hogh Andersen), but he’s more of a class clown than a bad boy.

Director Bornedal, who also wrote “Nightwatch: Demons Are Forever,” still doesn’t seem to care about what defines young people beyond self-absorption and snottiness. In this sequel, Emma and her friends use buzzy concepts, like getting their partner’s consent, to needle each other. They’re also like Martin and his friends, as they were conceived in “Nightwatch,” in the sense that they’re more interesting as generic ciphers than as credibly human characters. That shortcoming’s only disappointing when we’re supposed to take Emma’s friends seriously as emotionally complex people (i.e., whenever they’re not advancing the plot).

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