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      Dead of Night

      1945 1h 44m Horror List
      93% Tomatometer 44 Reviews 86% Audience Score 2,500+ Ratings Architect Walter Craig (Mervyn Johns) goes to Pilgrim's Farm to see a potential client. When he arrives at the house, he gets the feeling that he has been there before. Once inside, he meets a group of people who seem oddly familiar. He tells them that he has dreamt about each one of them and begins to list events that occurred in the dream. Walter's revelations begin a conversation amongst the group, and each person admits to having experienced a strange, unexplainable event. Read More Read Less
      Dead of Night

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      Critics Consensus

      With four accomplished directors contributing, Dead of Night is a classic horror anthology that remains highly influential.

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      Critics Reviews

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      TIME Staff TIME Magazine It offers the same sort of spine-cooling thrill you get from listening to a group of accomplished liars swapping ghost stories. Oct 13, 2020 Full Review Erle Cox (The Chiel) The Age (Australia) The audience is worked up to thrilling point with one story when it breaks to pick up another... It ls like eating a dinner in which, while you are enjoying toe fish, the plate is snatched away and poultry or dessert is substituted. Oct 13, 2020 Full Review Times (UK) Staff Times (UK) There is much sound acting and directing in Dead of Night, but the handicaps inherent in the form this film chooses prove too much for its ingenuity. Oct 13, 2020 Full Review Carson Timar ButteredPopcorn Dead of Night is clearly an inspired effort that is challenging what has already been done and as a result, is inspiring projects for decades to come. If that isn't the sign of a great film with great filmmakers, nothing is. Sep 19, 2022 Full Review Alexander Shaw The Spectator From such an excellent whole it seems a pity to single out any parts for special praise, but I thought that the direction, acting and writing of the tale of the ventriloquist's dummy was superb. Oct 13, 2020 Full Review Harry MacArthur Washington Star This is a masterful bit of work on the part of all the several directors and screen writers involved in it. It is the sort of thing that can chill you and give you a wondrous bit of fun at the same time. Oct 13, 2020 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

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      Joe S One of the great horror and suspense films with a great cast wherein a number of people recount their dreams. It stands up after all this time. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 10/17/23 Full Review Matthew B Dead of Night is something of an oddity in the history of British horror movies. It was made just after World War 2, a period during which horror had been banned in Britain. However it did not spark a new interest in the horror genre in British cinema. While the film was successful, Ealing chose instead to make feel-good comedies rather than make similar films to Dead of Night. Dead of Night shares similarities with the Amicus films. Typically a group of people gather in one place and then either tell or see a story relating to themselves. Each story ends on a darker note. At the end there is a subversive twist, and it is revealed that the framing story is not taking place in a safe environment as originally thought. Inevitably the stories are of variable quality, though in all fairness there are no terrible ones in Dead of Night. There are some original aspects to Dead of Night. While Amicus typically took its stories from sensationalist publications such as EC Comics, the stories in Dead of Night are in some cases derived from literary sources. The first tale about the hearse driver comes from an E. F. Benson story. The fourth story about the golfers is based on a tale by H.G. Wells. Another unusual feature is that the film has four directors instead of one, representing an interesting amalgam of some of Britain's most talented filmmakers - Basil Dearden, Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton and Robert Hamer. The subject matter of some of these stories is hardly original. Ghosts, haunted houses, premonitions, a mirror that possesses a man's mind and a ventriloquist's dummy that seems to have a life of its own – these ideas have been used many times since, and they were not new when the film came out either. Still Dead of Night is unusual in telling the stories in a chilling and memorable way that makes them seem fresh. At first Dead of Night seems like a cosy set of mildly chilling supernatural tales designed to entertain rather than disturb the viewer. As the film reaches its finish, it becomes clear that darker forces are at work. Characters lose all sense of their identity as they find themselves possessed by obscure forces beyond their control (Peter Cortland by the owner of the mirror, Maxwell Frere by his dummy, Walter Craig by curious impulses that leave him feeling powerless). There are rooms within rooms, flashbacks within flashbacks, dreams within dreams, stories within stories. Finally the movie dissolves into a swirling collage of images in which all the six stories are blended together. There is a disorientating variety of visual trickery – rapid cuts, Dutch angles, blurred images, claustrophobic close-ups and rapid camera zooms both in and out. Finally the dream-like visions disappear, but the return to normality proves to be deceptive. This brings to an end one of the finest British horror movies ever made. While Dead of Night proved to be a dead end in the development of British horror, it demonstrated to future British film executives that the horror genre was not moribund, and there were still opportunities to make imaginative and spine-tingling films in this genre. I wrote a longer appreciation of Dead of Night on my blog page if you would like to read more: https://themoviescreenscene.wordpress.com/2020/04/25/dead-of-night-1945/ Rated 5 out of 5 stars 08/23/23 Full Review Jody V Like some film-length Twilight Zone episode as written by studio writers rather than those with a penchant for and skill in writing fantastical stories and psychological dramas, "Dead of Night" did not add up to what it could've been, imo. It also had the issue of what seemed like lesser actors of the time. The typical weaknesses of 40's acting is prevalent- stiff, unrealistic performances mixed with the overt gesture and vocalizations as used by stage actors. So it's a blend of some good ideas and hokey execution. Some scenes work fine, but they tend to be those involving just a couple of the characters together, with further explication or just nice chemistry between actors. So it's a blend of some good ideas and hokey execution. Some scenes work fine, but they tend to be those involving just a couple of the characters together, with further explication or just nice chemistry between actors. Not sure if the idea had been used before, but I'd imagine the ventriloquist's dummy being 'alive' would've been pretty scary for the time. 3 stars Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 02/25/23 Full Review Audience Member Very clever concept. Grips your attention right from the start. As it develops, you feel like you're watching top of the list Rod Serling Twilight Zone episodes. A triumph of the imagination. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 02/04/23 Full Review joel h I first saw Dead of Night almost 20 years ago, and it definitely made an impression on me. I think the version I watched this second time was a different one, because it was about a half-hour longer and included a story about golfing that I did not remember at all. Truthfully, the golfing story isn't really scary, but the other tales are sure to give you the shivers. This entire movie is basically an excuse to tell some short scary stories, but it does it in such a clever way that the plot framing the vignettes is just as compelling. Plus, it has a truly haunting ending that will stick with you. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review dave s Dead of Night is a sporadically interesting horror thriller, an anthology of five stories that vary wildly in quality. The central premise is interesting; a man suffering from a recurring nightmare finds himself in a remote country estate where the guests, none of which he has ever met, are all characters in his dream. Each of the guests shares a story, some of great impact (The Ventriloquist's Dummy, The Hearse Driver), others thoroughly forgettable (The Golfer's Story, The Haunted Mirror). Dead of Night is certainly well-made, but the inconsistencies in the quality of the stories is disappointing and makes the whole thing feel like a bit of a mixed bag. However, the clever twist in the final scene manages to salvage things, to a degree. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

      Cast & Crew

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      Movie Info

      Synopsis Architect Walter Craig (Mervyn Johns) goes to Pilgrim's Farm to see a potential client. When he arrives at the house, he gets the feeling that he has been there before. Once inside, he meets a group of people who seem oddly familiar. He tells them that he has dreamt about each one of them and begins to list events that occurred in the dream. Walter's revelations begin a conversation amongst the group, and each person admits to having experienced a strange, unexplainable event.
      Director
      Alberto Cavalcanti, Basil Dearden, Robert Hamer, Charles Crichton
      Producer
      Michael Balcon
      Screenwriter
      John Baines, Angus MacPhail
      Production Co
      Ealing Studios
      Genre
      Horror
      Original Language
      English (United Kingdom)
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Mar 29, 2017
      Runtime
      1h 44m