There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Finally released, the gruesome, dopey horror movie Nightwatch has been growing moss in Miramax’s vaults for some two years now. Studio executives claim they were waiting for leading man Ewan McGregor’s popularity to peak—a plan that evaporated when the actor’s latest, A Life Less Ordinary, flopped. They needn’t have bothered; even coming out after the new Star Wars movie (in which McGregor will star), this derivative, pulpy mess still would have tanked. McGregor (who, as in the The Pillow Book, bares all once again) plays law student Martin Bells as a lovable doughboy who thinks he’s found the perfect after-school job: night watchman in a morgue. Plenty of time for studying, he figures. Yeah, except that the bodies of dead prostitutes—victims of a serial killer who cuts out their eyes—keep piling up and, worse, the murderer has decided to make Bells his patsy. The movie’s formula is tired, and not even the occasional flash of wit (director Ole Bornedal, remaking his own superior thriller Nattevagten, wraps the morgue in black plastic, as though the entire building were a corpse in a body bag) can do much to perk things up. And as for its climax, imagine a cliffhanger from the Batman television show written by the Marquis de Sade: McGregor and his dim-bulb girlfriend trussed up like pigs, their survival depending on a sawed-off thumb. Creepy, sure, but like the rest of Nightwatch, an old idea that never should have seen the light of day again. At area theaters; see Showtimes for venues. (Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa)