Nocebo (2022)

Nocebo (2022) MOVIE DETAILS
Name: Nocebo
Year: 2022
Country: Ireland, UK, Philippines, USA
Director: Lorcan Finnegan
Main cast: Eva Green, Mark Strong, Chai Fonacier, Billie Gadsdon
Runtime: 96 minutes
Production company: Epicmedia Productions, Fís Éireann / Screen Ireland, Lovely Productions, Wild Swim Films, XYZ Films


Lorcan Finnegan is one of the most notorious Irish horror filmmakers of the current panorama. He gained notoriety for his visual craft in the festivals scene with his short film Foxes (2011), a fresh eye to create visual nightmares that he proved again with his debut feature film Without Name (2016) [read our review here] and confirmed with his bigger budget Vivarium (2019). With his latest film Nocebo (2022) we all expected that he might do a step forward in his quest to create exciting horror stories through the lenses of his cameras but I am afraid this time we must count it as a disappointment.

Don’t get me wrong, Nocebo (2022) is well filmed, and the photography is correct as it pictures the working places and home of successful kids fashion designer Christine, but the whole package lacks the personality his two previous films showed off. Most of the time, I was wondering if I was watching a Stephen King film adaptation, with the slow tone, trying to stay creepy but mostly being tedious, the mild horror. Perhaps I read the director’s name wrong and this was a Mike Flanagan film instead?

Jokes aside, the idea for Nocebo (2022) had potential, and the final plot twist is really powerful and is what actually saves the picture. But the trip until reaching the glorious climax gets at moments too hollow.

Perhaps, the simplicity of the cast is playing against the interests of the story. Lorcan Finnegan has always worked with a limited main cast so he focuses on the stories of his characters and keeps the plot away from interferences that could deviate the attention of the storytelling. This time, the whole action is held by the couple played by Eva Green and Mark Strong, their little girl Billie Gadsdon, and the strange helper incarnated by Chai Fonacier. Acting has no flaws, so the weakness here is proven to be the story.

Nocebo (2022) is ambitious from the first minutes of the running time where the movie tells the audience that something bad is going on, but we never get to see the big picture until the very end. Which is a great structure of storytelling, I dig that, but the 96 minutes of length feel to be too extended for what the movie delivers.

Garret Shanley, who has been the screenwriter of the director Lorcan Finnegan since the early short film times, is also the author of the text for Nocebo (2022). Only this time their magic didn’t flow as they expected and they got stuck in the development of the story. That doesn’t make Nocebo (2022) a dull movie, that would be unfair to state, but it really can’t stand from many other titles with similar setups and plots. Yes, like if it was a Stephen King story, the idea is not bad at all but the development is too accommodated.

RATE: 5/10