If you’re looking for an entertaining thrill ride on a Saturday night, “Night of the Caregiver” will provide that chilling journey.
Directed by Joe Cornet and written by Craig Hamann, Night of the Caregiver is a gripping paranormal suspense thriller reminiscent of horror films from the 1980s and early 90s.
The film begins with a New York detective, Roman Eckhart (Cornet), meeting with a parapsychologist (Eric Roberts). Eckhart tells him that his mother disappeared many years ago and that he believes that she may have been killed by someone already dead.
Then, we meet a nurse, Juliet Rowe (Natalie Denise Sperl), as she heads off to a new job taking care of an elderly woman, Lillian (Eileen Dietz).
Lillian appears to be a cheerful though terminally ill woman who tells Juliet she has “heart cancer.”
As Juliet settles into her duties as Lillian’s caregiver, she’s confronted with bizarre dreams, visions of a demonic entity, and Lillian’s increasingly bizarre behavior. Something sinister lurks in the shadows in Lillian’s home…among other places.
Described by Cornet as “The Exorcist combined with the terrifying elements of a Dario Argento film,” Night of the Caregiver is only 77 minutes long, but the film doesn’t lose a minute.
Every minute of screen time is used to the fullest, replete with dream sequences, jump scares, and enough suspense to keep the viewer engaged.
Both Dietz and Sperl are strong in their roles.
The lush location, a shadowy hilltop mansion with shots of a clawed, blackened hand complete with dark corridors and attic rooms, creates a wonderfully spooky atmosphere. The effects aren’t over the top but practical and effective, giving the film the feel of an 80s or early 90s horror movie.
There are many twists and turns as Juliet begins to wonder if she’s stressed out and losing her mind.
The cast also includes the versatile Eric Roberts, whose appearances in the film are brief but entertaining nonetheless, and Eileen Dietz, a not-often-mentioned horror icon who was the face of the demon Pazuzu in The Exorcist.
If you love over-the-top gore and CGI galore, this film probably won’t work for you, but if you love classic horror, I recommend it.