Dead of Night - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Dead of Night Reviews

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October 16, 2016
A delightful, well-shot, well-structured series of horror vignettes at once varied and cohesive. The golfers segment is particularly enjoyable.
½ October 4, 2016
Dead of Night has a jarringly lightweight and comedic segment in its Golf Story sequence, but it is otherwise a top-notch, brilliant anthology horror film with every story being exceptional and so creepy. The entire flashback, dream within a dream structure is incredibly influential, the stories are all very authentic, memorable and riveting and the film is technically stunning with superb cinematography, very good acting and excellent direction and editing. It is one of the very best horror films of its time, a fascinating film that is such an evident influence on The Twilight Zone.
July 19, 2016
I searched for this film for decades, having seen it during college years and forgot the title. Recently I stumbled upon it by chance while channel surfing. A small group gathers in a remote cottage and passes the time telling creepy tales. Wait for the ending. You'll never forget this film.
July 12, 2016
A wonderful little forgotten gem. There is much to like here: An H.G. Wells tale, four directors telling tales that are for once effectively brought together, Googie Withers, and one of the very few horror movies from Britain in the mid-40's. This film even influenced cosmologist's Steady State theory! (Look it up). What I like best is the ventriloquist tale near the end--a plot stolen many times over the years since then, but rarely done as effectively.
June 17, 2016
One of the best classic horror films made. The Frere story is chilling no matter how many times you see it. The climax in the prison cell is just incredible.
May 7, 2016
An anthology of short stories that are tied together in a cohesive plot that takes place *during the day*. They are very similar to the Twilight Zone. The most memorable was the ventriloquist story.
March 27, 2016
One of the greatest films of all time. A delight. Intriguingly, 2 of its (virtually unknown) stars also feature in 2 of the other greatest films ever : Mervyn Johns in Scrooge ; Sally Ann Howes in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
½ March 24, 2016
A collection of linked stories, all with a nightmarish scenario - the best being kept to last with the spooky ventriloquist doll powered by Michael Redgrave leaving a lasting impression.
March 23, 2016
superb eerie chiller as guests at a gathering recall their dreams....or is it reality? great film.
March 20, 2016
The ventriloquist section is one of the scariest things you'll ever see.
½ January 18, 2016
Wildly trippy yet strangley poetic, with some humorous breaths as well, this is a landmark horror film that gets it right with psychological chills alone. (Today, it absolutely wouldn't be R-rated)
January 16, 2016
You can't cheat a ghost...

Walter Craig is an architect that struggles with bad dreams that seem to come true. He stumbles into a house with guests that all suffer from the same bad dreams issue. Each guest tells their strange and bizarre tale and at the end, the dreamers talk through the nightmare.

"What type of dummy do you think I am?"

Four directors collaborate to deliver this series of horror short stories told in a unique and entertaining way. Some of the stories are obviously better than others, but there is a great ventriloquist story in here that I loved. The cast is excellent in all the films and contains Googie Withers, Sally Ann Howes, and Michael Redgrave.

"I wish you were my sister."

I came across this on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) this Halloween season and had to DVR it. This was very good and I really enjoyed how many of these plots concluded. This isn't perfect, and there a couple cheesy scenes, but this is entertaining and worth a viewing.

"If I lose I win."

Grade: B
½ October 12, 2015
An anthology with likeable cast and a nice premise that, unfortunately, doesn't explode its full potential.
½ September 2, 2015
'There's room for one inside, sir.' Creepy with a smart, unsettling script and terrific flashbacks. With 4 different directors it introduced the episodic structure that influenced modern horror chronicles.
½ July 16, 2015
The great grand daddy of anthology horror films. Long before there was "Tales from the Crypt" (comic, movie or TV series), "Creepshow," "V/H/S" or "The ABCs of Horror" there was this classic bit of British horror. A group of proper English folks at a social gathering each recount a personal experience with something out of the ordinary and with supernatural overtones (premonitions, haunted mirrors, and a couple ghost tales along with the a final story that's a knockout). What this film does so well is that it's scary, suspenseful and also leaves the audience not quite sure whether the events were supernatural or explainable by other means. This film also boasts what I believe has to be the first appearance of an evil ventriloquist dummy, which is the final and best of the segments. For anyone interested in the history of horror films, this one is a must see!
April 26, 2015
Room for one more?

Obviously the Redgrave vignette is the standout, as it is the creepiest. It taps into the Fruedian uncanny on multiple levels.
February 1, 2015
Multiple horror stories tied into one. Ealing studios always does a first rate job, but this was outstanding and unprecedented.
½ November 26, 2014
The surrealist ending was great, everything else was too stiff. From what I've seen, I don't think Brits really got horror until the late 60's or early 70's.
½ November 16, 2014
Mrs Foley: "Oh, Mr Craig. Now that you've met us, I sure that you wouldn't dream of dreaming about us again."
½ November 3, 2014
The best kinds of horror movies are not ones that contain a sense of lightheartedness. There should be no jump scares, no happy endings, no room for sequels. It takes a lot for me to get truly frightened or unsettled; throwing a cat at the camera or watching a demented killer off dim teenagers is only worthy of a jolt and a laugh, but nothing more.
"Dead of Night" is the kind of horror film that gives the genre a good name. Before the 1960s, horror was mostly contained in B-movies that relied more on campy performances and a blackened visual style. They were always strange, but rarely terrifying. But like "Cat People" or "The Picture of Dorian Gray", "Dead of Night" is instantaneously successful because it taps into our vulnerable emotions, not our logic.
It's an anthology film, one that, unlike most, ties everything together in a neat package. Containing five different stories directed by four different directors, "Dead of Night" contains elements of the supernatural, black comedy, but first and foremost, a deep underlying sense of horror.
The framework of the film is simple but highly effective: an attractive group of strangers finds themselves invited to a weekend at a secluded country estate, all for unknown reasons. Their exchanges are perfectly pleasant, but one guest in particular is bothered by the entire situation. Everyman Walter Craig (Mervyn Jones) is highly confused; everything that is happening before him has happened before. The estate, the guests, and every movement has been the focus of a recurring nightmare.
It doesn't seem far-fetched, and as the guests begin to get to know one another, they share their own odd stories. One woman (Googie Withers) recounts her experience with a haunted mirror; another (Sally Ann Howes) recalls a run-in with a ghost at a Christmas party. As the film progresses, "Dead of Night" gets spookier and spookier, until it reaches a twist ending so devastatingly mind-boggling it only adds to the nightmarish feel of the film.
It's a brilliant horror movie because it's so unclear as to what we should be expecting. As some of the stories are more comedic than others, the darker they become the more unsettling the film turns. There's a kinship with "The Twilight Zone" that is unmistakably felt. There is no explanation of any of the events and there doesn't need to be. The tales in "Dead of Night" are macabre, some more than others, but like a good scary story you tell by the campfire, the effects are more potent when our own intelligence isn't involved.
The best vignettes hit so hard, they almost knock you off your feet. "The Haunted Mirror", which stars Ralph Michael and Googie Withers, is directed by Robert Hamer with claustrophobic style. Michael and Withers portray a married couple (Peter and Joan Cortland) who purchase a gothic mirror when decorating their new home. Peter is shocked to find that when he looks at his reflection, the setting that surrounds him is not his bedroom, but is instead a grand looking suite that looks straight out of a "Dracula" movie. It's full of mystery and magnetism, and Withers is particularly good as the confused wife who is forced to come to terms with her husband's unimaginable torture.
"Dead of Night"'s finest and most famous few minutes, however, come from "The Ventriloquist's Dummy" sequence. Starring a young (and terrific) Michael Redgrave and directed by Cavalcanti, it tells the story of a puppeteer whose dummy may or not have a mind of its own. Because it's never completely clear if Redgrave's character is completely insane or the puppet actually is possessed with some sort of life, the segment is all the more creepy. It's a quintessential story that's been revamped several times in the world of horror, but none do it better as the original. You can feel "Dead of Night"'s influence in nearly every scene; it's surrounded in a dreamlike state that makes for disturbingly quiet horror. It's a work of complete originality, and few can even begin to compare to its intricacies.
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