Watch Dead of Night
- 1 hr 44 min
Dead of Night is a British horror anthology film from 1945, directed by Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden, and Robert Hamer. It stars Mervyn Johns, Michael Redgrave, Roland Culver, and a variety of other actors in different roles throughout the film. The movie begins with a man named Walter Craig (played by Johns) arriving at a remote country house, where he has been invited to be a guest at a party. Upon arrival, he feels a strange sense of familiarity with the house and its inhabitants. As the partygoers begin to tell each other ghost stories, Walter becomes increasingly convinced that he has dreamt his experiences with the house and the people before. His fellow guests listen with scepticism, but as each of them recounts their own supernatural experiences, it becomes clear that there is more to the house than meets the eye.
The first story revolves around a man named Maxwell Frere (played by Redgrave), who becomes convinced that his ventriloquist's dummy is alive and trying to control him. His increasingly erratic behaviour alienates his wife and friends until he finally takes drastic action to get rid of the dummy.
The second story follows a racing driver named Hugh Grainger (played by Anthony Baird), who survives a near-fatal accident and begins to experience a sense of deja vu at every turn. He becomes convinced that he is reliving the same day over and over again, and that his fate is somehow tied to a mysterious antique mirror in his room.
The third story features Sally O'Hara (played by Sally Ann Howes), a young woman who becomes engaged to a man named Peter (played by Ralph Michael) despite her misgivings about his deceased first wife, who died under mysterious circumstances. On their honeymoon, Sally becomes increasingly disturbed by the presence of the first wife's ghost, who seems determined to come between her and Peter.
The fourth story centres on a haunted room in a country inn, which is said to drive all who stay there to madness or suicide. A retired army colonel named Rupert Billingsley (played by Culver) scoffs at the idea and offers to spend the night in the room himself. As the night wears on, he begins to experience increasingly strange and terrifying phenomena, until he is driven to an act of desperation.
These four stories are interspersed with scenes of Walter's growing sense of unease and his attempts to unravel the mystery of the house and its inhabitants. In the climactic final scene, all of the guests come together in a shocking twist ending that leaves Walter and the audience questioning the nature of reality itself.
Dead of Night is a masterful exercise in atmosphere and suspense, with each story building on the tension and unease of the last. The cast is uniformly excellent, with Redgrave and Johns standing out in particular for their nuanced performances. The film's set design and cinematography are also worthy of praise, with the country house and its surroundings evoking a sense of timeless eeriness.
Overall, Dead of Night is a must-see for horror fans looking for a classic chiller with an innovative structure and unforgettable moments of terror. Despite being over 75 years old, the film stands the test of time as a landmark of British horror cinema.
Dead of Night is a 1945 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 44 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.6.