Movies

Nocturne

Amazon Prime’s Nocturne Explained- A Faustian Deal Or A Sick Mind?

An interesting mix of Netflix’s The Perfection and Black Swan, Amazon Prime’s Nocturne, may or may not be a nasty deal with the Devil.

The next two Welcome To The Blumhouse films released today with Nocturne and Evil Eye completing the four-film package for the streamers Halloween addition. All four have been good, but Nocturne is easily the weirdest offering. Playing out like some bizarre fever dream, Nocturne takes a page from Darren Aronofsky and delivers a story you can’t entirely trust. Zu Quirke’s directorial debut is an ambition offering with more than a little ambiguity. Here’s all you need to know about Nocturne’s gruesome ending.

Juliet played portrayed by Sydney Sweeney, is a timid, anxiety-ridden young girl who has lived in the shadow of her twin sister her whole life. Vivian is bolder, more confident, and more talented. Both girls are gifted pianists studying at a prestigious boarding school for the performing arts. Vivian has been tapped to attend Juilliard next year, while Juliet will be taking an undesired gap year. When Juliet finds a strange book belonging to a previous student who killed herself earlier in the year, she begins spiraling closer to the fame she seeks, and a danger she has no idea is luring her in.

As with most schools of this sort, the teachers swing between sexually predatory and overly truthful. The students are either serious competition, misguided youth, or horny but sensitive young men. It’s a basic formula for horror that works well under Quirke’s surreal eye.

Juliet’s Point Of View

Everything that happens in Nocturne is presented from Juliet’s point of view. She is our narrator and the filter in which the entire story is sifted. As a result, it is often disjointed, confusing, and horrific. Even before finding Moira’s book, she is plagued by intense bouts of anxiety and crippling self-doubt. While her sister loves the spotlight and shines under attention, Juliet crumbles. Everything that happens is likely a construct of the book manipulating Juliet. Max doesn’t see the light before Vivian fell off the cliff; no one sees any blood on her hands either. The blood in her bed is just a product of a normal biological process, not proof of something more sinister.

The book demon’s greatest skill is warping everyday life into moldable lessons to pervert vulnerable minds. Juliet was already on edge and taking medication. Unfortunately, it is as simple as a product of a desperate mind. There may not have even been a demon, just a mentally ill young girl. Juliet may have been primed to believe a demon could make her talented, but in reality, Moira jumped because the pressure to be perfect was too great, and Juliet died for the same reason. She was ready to believe the book had power, and so it did. In reality, Moira was probably also mentally ill, and coincidence brought the book to Juliet. Everything that happened was filtered through Juliet’s faulty mindset.

Nocturne
Sydney Sweeney as Juliet in NOCTURNE

The Book Adapts To Its Owner

Assuming you don’t buy the theory that there was no demon book, here’s the scoop on the demonic text. The previous owner, Moira, was a beautiful violin player. Little is known about her personality and talent beyond comments the other children and teachers make about her. Indications are, she was not shy or lacking talent, however. She was driven to the point of obsession almost certainly. That was the book’s entry point to her soul. Its goal is simple. Worm it’s way in, deliver early results, cause the victim to perform all the ritual steps inadvertently, and take their lives. As witnessed at the end of Nocturne, the book seems to give the victims a small moment of solace before their death.

Juliet avoids the stage even though she is desperate to prove herself. By showing her the warm, light of the sun, it is symbolizing crowd adoration. This is what Juliet wants and fears more than anything. The demon who uses the book as a lure continually reinforces the sun’s image alongside the scarier horned beast pictures. Warm light and love are more appealing than Hellbeasts.

What Really Happened At The End?

Juliet does not play the piano piece to thunderous applause. She really did run off the stage and onto the roof, where she stepped off, killing herself. In the final shot, she is smiling, bloody, and impaled on the statue outside the theater building. In the final moments before jumping, she is smiling because the demon/book showed her what she needed to see to kill herself. She saw fame, success, and the eternal sunshine of the spotless mind, if not the spotless face. Bloody and broken, she dies lost in a hallucination.

The question of why no one notices the bloody body impaled in the statue is as simple as the self-absorbed quality of youth. They are lost in their phones, friends, and own thoughts and overlook poor dead Juliet. An argument could also be made that our brains are very adept at hiding unpleasant things from us. The grisly grin would be utterly incongruous with the school’s safety, so our minds make us blind to it. Cognitive Dissonance would prevent many from seeing Juliet.

One final possibility remains. Juliet is still hiding lost in her thoughts. She could have broken entirely with reality and imagines the fall and her death. If anyone finds her, they will find a catatonic but otherwise healthy girl. I am inclined to believe it is hardly a symbolic death of shy Juliet ushering in the age of demon Juliet ready to wreak havoc on an unsuspecting world. Moira did commit suicide, and so did Juliet.

Nocturne pulls from many different films in delivering the slow-burn horror of this insular film. Whether it be the pressures of growing up, toxic male influences or mean girls, growing up is tough. When you throw in a demonic book, it gets even more challenging.

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