Nocturna Review

Ancient vampires feud in a New Orleans soaked in the blood of their victims

While the concept sounds suspiciously close to the CW’s Originals television show, director Buz Alexander weaves a dark and brooding vamp tale in Nocturna. Two police detectives get caught up in the struggle between warring vampire clans in this sinister horror thriller. As someone that considers themselves a connoisseur of vampire films, Nocturna is an exciting new addition to the canon and the best vampire film I’ve seen this year. It will definitely take a bite out of you.

Detective Harry Ganat (Mike Doyle) and his young partner Roy Cody come across a very young girl hiding out in the swamp at the scene of a murder. She leads them to the mysterious Brisbane (Jonathon Schaech), a distinguished man holding a bizarre gathering. Harry warns Roy to stay out of their way, indicating he must know something. It appears to be a strange party for eccentric people on the surface but Roy soon discovers a world of vampires living under his nose in New Orleans. Harry and Roy get caught up between rival vampire factions when Roy mistakenly pulls a gun on the leader of the Molderos, a ruthless vampire clan that lives off the blood of children.

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It is a fight for survival when Roy becomes marked for death by the Molderos. His only hope is taking the protection offered by the enigmatic Brisbane, an ancient vampire. Harry has his own reasons for taking out the Molderos. They murdered his wife and threatened to kill anyone that he tells about vampires. Estella Warren plays the queen of the Molderos, a vicious clan that raises children to be their blood cows. Harry and Roy are helped out of their life-threatening situation by Lydia and Brisbane, but only at a terrible price. They must hunt down the Molderos by day, looking for their nest. Nocturna’s hard-boiled, gritty approach to vampires is reminiscent of John Carpenter’s Vampires.

Where Nocturna ups the ante is its nasty mix of characters…

Nocturna is a dark, sexy vampire thriller with a snappy pace and solid performances. Maria Vicente steals the show as the beautiful Lydia, a vampire under Brisbane’s command. If you have seen The Originals or Vampire Diaries, the vampire mythology is similar. It covers the same emotional terrain of immortal vampires living in a city of humans, squabbling between themselves as humans suffer the consequences. Where Nocturna ups the ante is its nasty mix of characters, especially the Moldero vampires. They make great villains with their sickening abuse of children and other unsavory practices.

This is a taut, gripping roller coaster ride with the right mix of nasty vamp action and character development. The only problems arise in a somewhat goofy climactic showdown, hamstrung by sub-par fight choreography. It was something I could over look but others may find it jarring. It is rare that I am this excited over a new vampire film. Having watched hundreds of them over the years, Nocturna is that perfect slice of Halloween entertainment for a cold, dark night.

Movie ★★★★★

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Nocturna runs an unrated 95 minutes and is distributed on DVD and Blu-ray by Alchemy. This film contains strong language, graphic violence and nudity.