A home-grown horror to start the week and its one that comes from Wales, directed by Wrexham born filmmaker S.J Evans. Wales has had a wealth of horror directed in its parts in recent years thanks in part to North Bank Entertainment and Andrew Jones, who has of course shot much maligned fare as Amityville Asylum and Night of the Living Dead: Resurrection. For Dead of Nite though we stay close to the capital in the shape of Fonmon Castle.
We start at a crime scene where a group of 30-something ghost hunters working on a haunted TV show appear to have fallen foul of a grave accident. Ruber (Tony Todd) the caretaker for the infamous Jericho Manor is informing Detective Jenkins (Gary Mavers) of the events of the previous evening, with his last contact with them being locking them in the property. Jenkins is somewhat cynical of the story that Ruber begins to spin so decides to take him down to the station for interrogation.
Prompted by the detectives, Ruber goes back on the history of Jericho Manor before recounting the ghost hunters arriving the night before which enables the action to switch back to that time, and we set about meeting the team of paranormal investigators. The show is led by Amanda Helms (Cicely Tennant) who has a notably aloof persona, while joining her is the producer Anne-Marie (Simone Kaye), psychic Sheila (Rachel Littlemac) as well as cameraman Jason (Stuart Boother). With the night vision cameras set up and with the crew all equipped with a raft of hi-tech ghost hunting paraphernalia, they are read to shoot. As is the case with such spirit seeking endeavours however, things are about to go a little pear shaped.
Once I discovered the storyline for Dead of the Nite, I must admit I approached it with the enthusiasm of a cat being put in a bathtub. We’ve been awash with ghost hunters orientated horror movies for a number of years now, and I expected little from this one. Having said that, I must admit I quite enjoyed this macabre story despite it rarely reaching the heights of ground-breaking ingenuity. I thought with a £20,000 budget it was really well shot, with great use of sound especially in regard to the whispers and understated noises that came from the house. The cast are all solid in their roles and although Tony Todd has only a cameo, he does tend to give the film a certain authority which some low budget films struggle to command.
The narrative I found to offer something a little different, which I guess is the primary reason for me giving this film a higher rating than I’d predicted. Too often horror films opt for by the numbers storytelling, and while the ‘surprise’ in Dead of the Nite isn’t even remotely in Keyser Soze territory, it does at least have you flipping a thumbs up to the screen in admiration of it not treading a well worn path, and it certainly has me interested in what the director will do next.