Nightfur is a quirky independent film, written and directed by Jason Brown, about science fiction, fantasy and even a little bit of romance. Most of the acting feels emotionless and the plot is not very deep but one thing is certain, the story is original. I feel like Jason Brown got exactly what he wanted out of the film, whether or not the audience got the same might be another story.
The synopsis for Nightfur is difficult to describe mostly because the film does not go out of it’s way to set up or describe what is going on from the beginning. It contains all the elements needed for a cult following film; outside the small fan base it probably won’t be a hit, it is outside the standard narrative and an independent limited release.
Dr. Roberts is a physics scientist that does research and experiments in his own home that is surrounded by a woods. He recruits two assistants, Frank (Jeter Rhodes) who has an astrophysics major and Helen (Jana Danae) who is some mysterious woman Roberts found in the woods. Somehow he believes she is connected to the same energy source that he has been trying to track from outer space.
Both assistants live with Roberts for the summer and routinely complete tasks for their mentor. Naturally, the three form a bond between them. Both men, perhaps mostly intrigued by her mysterious ways, form an interest in Helen. Helen has a strange connection to trees and often disappears into the woods at night. Someone or something often cuts the connection in the array and now Roberts has a suspect.
Roberts records Helen going into the woods on camera and tells Frank about it. Frank decides one night to follow her into the woods. Although, he does not find her cutting the cords, he does discover some strange encounters.
Jason Brown’s writing for the film overall is done fairly well. It seems like most of the ideas and direction were well thought out even though the film is more than a little out there. The dialog, however, was not one of the strong points for the film. This may be due to the fact that most of the cast probably have not acted before in a feature film. In fact, one of the actors (Creighton Barrett) is actually the drummer for the indie band “Band of Horses”.
Nightfur is obviously a low budget indie film, but you would not know that visually. The camera used seems to be of professional grade, producing crisp and vibrant colors. Helping the shots look so nice is the fact most of the film takes place outside, surrounded by plenty of trees and greenery. All in all the visuals were pleasing but the effects served as a reminder of the film’s lack of budget.
Music heard throughout consisted of indie bands, the one most known being “Band of Horses” which is not surprising considering the drummer was in the film. You could tell the soundtrack was carefully selected. Interestingly, Jason Brown who wrote and directed the film, is the front man for the indie rock band named “Nightfur”. The band was formed during the same time as the screenplay was written and named after the film.
The film has it’s shortcomings; mediocre acting, dialog is a little rough sometimes and the audience might feel abandoned by the plot with the lack of background it gives. It is hard to connect emotionally to any of the characters, because it mostly jumps right in without building the character or providing much background. However, it is still fairly enjoyable and interesting when you set some of the confusion aside. Bottom line, knowing some of the flaws beforehand and being in the right mood might help one enjoy this indie flick more.