If Nightscape is at all reflective of legislator-turned-filmmaker David Edwards’ view of politics, it’s a good thing he exited that line of work. Edwards represented Hillsboro in the state Legislature for two terms before ending his political career in 2010 (his wife was diagnosed in 2006 with an autoimmune disease), and Nightscape is his feature debut. A supernatural horror film with flavors of both John Wayne and Men in Black, it follows a young woman named Kat (Portland actor Emily Galash) who considers herself doomed by black luck. She comes across a phantom car that leaves supernatural chaos and carnage in its wake, which she follows with a brooding and mysterious man known as “El Buitre,” “the vulture” (fellow Portlander Jorge Elias Madrid). Traditional religion seems doomed: Even as El Buitre strives for an unknown form of deliverance, he says the Christian god is dead. “Earth and everything else is in slow decay,” he tells Kat. With its sepia-tinged cinematography and the actors’ cowboy twangs, Nightscape evokes the past, but the sense of apocalyptic foreboding and throbbing electro-bass soundtrack complicate any simple time peg. It’s also light on gore—the occasional spiky tentacle shoots out of a character’s body, but Nightscape’s modus operandi is a smothering sense of hard-bitten dread, which occasionally turns a tad self-serious. Low-budget and scrappy, it’s an odd and inventive little film, made more intriguing by the local landmarks visible throughout—be sure to spot the neon cowboy hat of North Interstate Avenue’s Westerner Motel.
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- Release Date: Tuesday, November 13, 2012
- Critic's Score: B
- Watch the trailer