Dead of Night Screen 4 articles

Dead of Night

1945

Dead of Night Poster
  • The entire film is as wildly inconsistent as all omnibus movies tend to be, but Dead of Night nevertheless has a remarkable unity of tone; this is because the glue holding together the film’s five stories—a group of strangers brought together inexplicably at a country cottage where they entertain each other with tales of the occult, all of which an eminently rational psychologist tries to discredit—is so compelling and well directed by Dearden.

  • The first four episodes of Dead of Night are nothing special; the fifth, directed by the Brazilian-born filmmaker Alberto Cavalcanti, is one of the most memorably spooky short films of all time, and transforms the movie attached to it into a classic. Playing a quiet man who literally gets drowned out by his demons, Redgrave belongs in the pantheon of split-personality performances alongside Anthony Perkins in Psycho.

  • The dummy sequence is rightly the film’s most notorious and well-regarded, though many of the other segments, if less discussed today, are scary in their own right... While flashes of Dead of Night do stand out more than others, it’s the multiplicity of these moments, and the entirety’s tone, that make it so unforgettable a masterpiece of horror.

  • More cohesive than O. Henry’s Full House and united by a powerful framing story (directed by Victim‘s Dearden), Dead of Night is uncommonly potent for its juxtaposition of British reserve with hair-raising scenarios, its perception of elemental terror in banal objects (mirrors, dolls), and, above all, its uniformly artful filmmaking, marked by high-contrast lighting and gothic set design.

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