Day Watch

Movie Information

In Brief: Timur Bekmambetov's Day Watch is, of course, the even more ambitious follow-up to Night Watch. (A third film was announced, but it appears to be dead in the water.) Everyone from the previous film is back for more — and by that I mean more of everything. It's bigger, it's over a half-hour longer, the effects are grander, the mythology has been expanded, the plot is even more convoluted — and it certainly ramps up the goofiness quotient. The evident action-influence of the Wachowski's The Matrix is more pronounced — sometimes to the point of outright silliness. But it's undeniably entertaining — even if it's finally a little on the overwhelming side. This round we add such things as the (dare I say it?) "chalk of fate," a second "Great Other," a parrot man, ever more complex personal relationships — all leading up to a huge, effects-driven set piece and a surprisingly simple but effective climax. Is it better than the first film? Maybe, maybe not, but it's one hell of a wild ride.
Genre: Horror
Director: Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted)
Starring: Konstantin Khabenskiy, Vladimir Menshov, Valeriy Zolotukhin, Mariya Poroshina, Galina Tyunina
Rated: R



Day Watch (2006) takes place two years after Night Watch and, though I believe it works as a stand-alone film, is a continuation of — and elaboration on — the story of the first film. It is essentially the story of what happens to Yegor (Dima Matynov) after he chooses the dark path and is coming into his full powers as a Great Other on the verge of his 14th birthday. But the story has tossed in new elements — like the Chalk of Fate (with which history can sort of be rewritten) and a new threat involving the destruction of…well, everything should two Great Others meet. It should surprise no one that two Great Others will indeed meet before the ending.




It’s bigger and weirder and frankly sillier than its predecessor. (And it’s 30 minutes longer and sometimes feels it.) Everything about the film screams excess, but excess in a movie like this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s very obvious that the success of the first film allowed for a very expanded budget here. This leads to ever more elaborate — and often pretty goofy (a car driving on the side of a building?) — special effects, most of which are CGI in nature. Normally, I’d probably rail against the overuse of CGI at this point, but in a movie where almost nothing is terribly realistic, it hardly matters. What matters here is the almost exhausting flood of fanciful ideas being brought to life — or an approximation thereof. It helps that the film is also more jokey than Night Watch. The arch bad guy, Zavulon (Viktot Verzhbitskiy) — you know, the guy who looks like an aging Billy Idol impersonator — is here a lot funnier, but no less of a menace. How he and the good guy bureaucrat Gesser (Vladimir Menshov) end up is paticularly satisfying — and puts the whole power game into amusing perspective.


About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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2 thoughts on “Day Watch

  1. DrSerizawa

    It didn’t work as well as Night Watch for me. I don’t feel that bigger is better in this case. Not to say that it isn’t worth seeing by any means. It was enjoyable and better than most of the horror dreck we generally see released. But then I usually like movies of more limited reach. Alien vs Aliens for example. Alien was an atmospheric horror movie. Aliens was a shoot ’em up bang bang. I feel the same here. Of course YMMV.

    • Ken Hanke

      I don’t entirely disagree with you, though I am not fond of any Alien with the possible exception of Alien Resurrection. I do, however, greatly admire the sheer attention to detail necessary here — even at its most preposterous. Maybe even more at its most preposterous.

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