Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 25


Audience Score

User Ratings: 14,619
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Movie Info

Multimedia horror maven Clive Barker followed the success of his feature directorial debut, Hellraiser, with this equally surreal effort, based on his novella Cabal. The story involves the plight of Aaron Boone (Craig Sheffer), a young man tormented by visions of monstrous, graveyard-dwelling creatures. Seeking the aid of his clinically cold therapist Dr. Decker (played by Canadian horror auteur David Cronenberg) in deciphering his nightmares, Boone becomes convinced that his frequent blackouts are linked to a recent spate of mutilation murders in the area. His frantic search for the truth leads him to the subterranean city of Midian, the dwelling place of a mythical race of undead nocturnal monsters known as the "Nightbreed." But it is only after he is cornered and shot dead by police that Boone's real journey begins -- he finds himself resurrected as one of the Breed. Though Barker's unique and graphic vision is somewhat blunted by choppy editing (thanks to relentless tampering from the studio), this is nevertheless a fine sophomore project from a talented storyteller; the central conceit of presenting the monsters as the "good guys" -- at least compared to the gun-and-bible-toting lunatics who hunt them -- is handled with verve and originality. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

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Craig Sheffer
as Aaron Boone
David Cronenberg
as Dr. Philip Decker
Charles Haid
as Capt. Eigerman
Hugh Quarshie
as Detective Joyce
Hugh Ross
as Narcisse
Doug Bradley
as Lylesberg
Malcolm Smith
as Ashberry
Bob Sessions
as Pettine
Oliver Parker
as Peloquin
Tony Bluto
as Leroy Gomm
David Young
as Otis and Clay
Mac MacDonald
as Lou Rickman
Daniel Kash
as Labowitz
Peter Marinker
as Pathologist
Lindsay Holiday
as Morgue Assistant
Kenneth Nelson
as Emergency Doctor
Ted Maynard
as Bartender
Mitch Webb
as Jail Cell Doctor
Eric Loren
as Ambush Cop
Alan Harris
as Stand-In
John Agar
as Special Appearance
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News & Interviews for Nightbreed

Critic Reviews for Nightbreed

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (2)

  • Midian becomes a place where people are cast off, a decision determined by those in power and forced upon those without any.

    May 1, 2019 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…
  • A complete mess of a movie. This should feel like perfectly mixed fantasy and horror. But it's only laughable. [Full review in Spanish].

    Mar 20, 2019 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Decent horror thriller which gets more renowned with age.

    Nov 12, 2017 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Clive Barker is the Douglas Sirk of splatter.

    Dec 10, 2015 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • The Director's Cut is vastly superior to the theatrical version, expanding on the secretive realm of Midian and the monsters who reside in this underground lair.

    Nov 9, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • For all of its blockbuster aspirations, the clumsily vulgar script and uneven performances leave [Nightbreed] mired in b-grade horror territory.

    Oct 29, 2014 | Rating: 5/10 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Nightbreed

  • Aug 31, 2016
    The original story was butchered to pieces in this film adaptation. Despite Barker wrote and directed this personally, it was a horrendous show of gore and violence. The 2 hour running time was a nightmare in itself, I honestly don't know what Barker was thinking when he opt for special effect and gore instead of a decent storyline. I am sure for the people that didn't read the novella, this was a rather confusing film. Other than some nice make up, Nightbreed fell short and too many points to make it an excellent film.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Dec 28, 2015
    A very interesting story is marred by clumsy execution. Clive Barker is working with one of his original stories but he doesn't have strong enough experience as a director yet to pull off the complex high wire act this film needs to make it work. He's too in love with his monsters making them a bit too cartoonish, his characters are not portrayed strong enough to pull off the sometimes-clumsy dialogue. Main characters Boone and Lori are too broadly drawn and Craig Sheffer and Anne Bobby can't add any depth to them in time to rescue the film. But at its core 'Nightbreed" is quite arresting. The story is quite insightful about human nature and the real monsters in the world. "Nightbreed" is ambitious but falls a bit short of Clive Barker's genius story potential due to clunky execution.
    Tony G Super Reviewer
  • Oct 08, 2015
    A creative submission from Clive Barker. It features a fresh and original story with superb effects and David Cronenberg. It creates an entire world that leaves you wanting more and more. I highly recommend this.
    Brandon S Super Reviewer
  • May 04, 2015
    Honestly somewhat surprised by how much I actually liked this movie. I have the book this film is based on, Cabal, but I never actually finished it. But yea this is a good little fantasy film that is about due for a remake or reboot to be completely honest. It's obvious that this was set-up with sequels in mind, almost being Marvel-esque in how it does so before Marvel became such a huge film universe, in that there's little hints of stuff that is to come now that Midian, a subterranean city where mythical, monstrous creatures live in, has been absolutely destroyed by the war that Boone has brought to their doorstep because of the fact that he wanted to save his girlfriend from an attack. Part of the reason I liked this movie so much, outside of make-up effects, which are a notch below those of Hellraiser 1 and 2, is the fact that there seems to be a rich mythology to this world that you can borrow from. And I'm not even sure this was even a series, I believe it's just the one book, that I should find. Apparently the director's cut of the film, the one that is available on Netflix, is the cut that you have to see. Apparently it restores a lot of shit that was cut out of the theatrical cut. I haven't seen the theatrical cut, and I likely never will, but I do think that this cut does a good job at developing Midian, its world and its inhabitants, and actually doing solid enough job at making you care about them, in a way, so that when the humans and the monsters go at it, it doesn't feel pointless. It feels like there's a meaning behind it all and you're invested in the proceedings. Part of me was thinking, and they're not even that similar, but this somehow reminded me of an R-rated, more fantastical version of the X-Men. Do not ask me why, but that is what I was reminded of. It's also a movie that doesn't take itself too seriously. There aren't many overt comedic lines, maybe two or three, but the film is actually a lot of fun to watch. I don't even know what it is about it. Perhaps the fact that the world felt fully-formed instead of just being an excuse to get some grotesque make-up effects on camera. And they're not even as grotesque as Hellraiser's tamest monsters. I don't necessarily feel as if I'm watching something that truly matters, but at the very least, I feel like I'm being rewarded for getting into the film and buying into the characters and their world. There's some social commentary here in how the humans slaughter the monsters. Reminds me, somewhat, of the genocide of the Native Indians. Not sure if that's what it was going for, but at least it has some parts that make you think. There's some hilariously bad scenes here though. Well, as far as I can remember, it's just the one. Essentially, at the end, Lori and Boone, after being tasked with rebuilding Midian, stand together, facing the camera, looking off in the distance in a heroic fashion. They're not posing or anything, they're just looking heroically off into the distance, just standing. It looks so fucking ridiculous that I honestly laughed my ass off. Perhaps not literally, but it was pretty bad. I have no idea if it was intentionally done to be that goofy. Or if they were actually going for a heroic ending to the film. I can't quite tell honestly. It's not like it ruined the film. but it made me laugh. The acting is solid. Nothing wrong with it, but nothing terribly right with it either. Looking at this film, and with this man's trajectory, it seems to me that if a remake was ever to be done, Guillermo del Toro would probably be great for it. I think he could do an awesome fucking job with this story. I don't know why, but I believe he could do a great job. So get on it right now. Seriously though, this is a good little movie here. I think it's much better than it would look to anybody at first glance. It's not perfect or anything of the sort, but I do think that there's something about this movie that's just fun and enjoyable to watch. I'm sure this film has a cult following and I have to say that it's very much deserved. Good movie.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer

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