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Nightfall

Nightfall (1988) Movie Poster
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  •  USA  •    •  83m  •    •  Directed by: Paul Mayersberg.  •  Starring: David Birney, Sarah Douglas, Alexis Kanner, Andra Millian, Starr Andreeff, Chuck Hayward, Jonathan Emerson, Susie Lindeman, Russell Wiggins, Larry Hankin, Ronald R. Burns, Bernard J. Garsen, Dan Wells.  •  Music by: Frank Serafine.
       This sci-fi drama is based upon a classic story by Isaac Asimov. It is set upon a planet located in a solar system with three suns. The trouble begins when both a seer and an astronomer predict a once-per-millenium solar eclipse and the prediction comes true. Never having seen darkness, the people are terrified and in trying to cope, a great social schism occurs. Half the population begins believing that the eclipse heralds the demise of their civilization and live accordingly, while the other more optimistic half simply head underground to await the dawning of a brand new day.

Trailers:

   Length:  Languages:  Subtitles:
 1:24
 
 

Review:

Image from: Nightfall (1988)
Image from: Nightfall (1988)
Image from: Nightfall (1988)
Image from: Nightfall (1988)
Image from: Nightfall (1988)
Image from: Nightfall (1988)
Image from: Nightfall (1988)
Image from: Nightfall (1988)
Image from: Nightfall (1988)
Image from: Nightfall (1988)
Image from: Nightfall (1988)
Image from: Nightfall (1988)
If you go to this film hoping to see a well-crafted cinematic adaptation of Isaac Asimov's short story "Nightfall", you're in for a BIG disappointment. The lowest-common denominator of the short story's plot are present (the suns that give the people's planet perpetual daylight are going out, and everyone's afraid of the impending darkness), but everything else seems to have been concocted in the mind of a New Age True Believer taking hallucinogens.

For instance, the people track the paths of the suns beyond the local horizon with "sonar", using a hand-held device that looks like a deerskin victrola. The doom-and-darkness cult that Asimov made only passing references to in his story is the central player in this movie, going to the point of getting their eyeballs chewed out of their sockets by ravens. In the story, the civilization was almost identical to 1930s Chicago without the light bulbs; in the movie, everybody lives in tents and grass huts. The book's scientific explanation of the impending darkness is notoriously absent in the film, perhaps because they weren't expecting their audience to have more functioning brain cells than the filmmakers did.

Asimov's short story would have made an excellent one-hour episode of _The Outer Limits_ if said episode had been made true to the original. The movie is neither true to the original nor well-done in its own right.


Review by Roger M. Wilcox from the Internet Movie Database.