Nightbreed

1990

Nightbreed

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

40%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 25

60%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 14,622
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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

Cast

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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Critic Reviews for Nightbreed

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (2) | Fresh (10) | Rotten (15)

  • 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

  • Oct 06, 2019
    There's a lot going on, maybe too much for one movie. That being said it's hard not to admire the pure unadulterated vision of Barker here and I like that the movie isn't coy about its message or who the real villains are.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • 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

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