Night of the Caregiver Movie Review
Night of the Caregiver Movie Review Metadata
My cinematic weaknesses are well documented: possession movies, ghost stories, Christopher Walken. Swimming beneath the ice, like a frog that won’t completely freeze is Eric Roberts. I like it when he shows up in films because it’s unexpected and generally bonkers, like Duffy in A Talking Cat?! (2013) where he played an actual talking cat to James Munroe in The Expendables (2010) an ex-CIA agent turned bad (redundant). By far though, I see Eric Roberts turn up in a plethora of very low-budget horror films, like Escape to the Cove (2021) and Dying to Sleep (2023). It’s fun because I wonder if he just loves the work or if he calls it rent. Either way, I’m tuning in, just not constantly – he’s listed in 52 movies already for 2023 and many more that have yet to be released.
Today’s installment of “How Many Movies Did Eric Roberts Act in This Week” is Night of the Caregiver (2023), starring Eileen Dietz, Natalie Denise Sperl, Anna Oris, Joe Cornet, Savannah Jensen, and of course, Eric Roberts. That’s the cast, so I might as well list them all.
Juliette (Natalie Denise Sperl) is a nurse practitioner called away at the last minute to tend to the overnight duties of quiet, frail Lillian Greshem (Eileen Deitz) in a house hours away from anywhere. Lillian is very nice, but obstinate, and for the most part, stays in her room. After Lillian has gone to bed, Juliette chats with her friend Pam (Anna Oris) on the phone, dozes off and on, and is startled by noises throughout the really large house Lillian has no business staying in by herself. As the night wears on, she realizes something sinister waits in the house with her, but it’ll take a monologue late in the third act to reveal all.
The B story is Detective Roman Eckhart (Joe Cornet) speaking with Dr Alex King (Eric Roberts) a paranormal psychologist. Detective Eckhart – you can tell he’s a NYPD detective because he looks bored and wears a leather jacket and rings, you know “unconventional” – is researching the mysterious disappearance of his mother who went missing 26 years ago. They have a few conversations about an urban legend that cycles every 13 years, that somehow leads Eckhart to where he needs to be, but that comes later. I believe Dr. King has the same iPhone Dr. Palmer had in Dying to Sleep (2023). Small world with smaller budgets, right?
Night of the Caregiver is not a great movie by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s a great beginner movie for those who want to watch a horror movie but aren’t really horror fans, think 12-year old’s sleepover. It’s well-paced and the limited action and location are an asset rather than a hinderance to the story. It’s not too gory and the bumps in the night are spooky enough to get anyone in the mood. Night of the Caregiver is your standard by-the-numbers flick that at least has the atmosphere of classic and low budget horror movies, and the acting chops of Dietz and Sperl to see it through. Their chemistry alone makes what would be a bland, directionless mess of a plot enjoyable to watch. Eileen Dietz, who came to name recognition as Pazuzu in The Exorcist (1972) and a recurring soap opera role on General Hospital, captures the elderly if mischievous, Lillian, wonderfully, Lillian who makes tea and cookies and pacts with the devil. My only complaint with her character is her dialog is clunky and she has a lot to get out before the climax gets rolling. Eric Roberts is Eric Roberts playing a Doctor Who Knows Things. It’s really hard to get that wrong and he aces it once again.
Writer- actor Joe Cornet should have a good long talk with his costume designer because the whole “unconventional NY aesthetic” fell flat. It didn’t help that his character didn’t have a lot to do but take his sunglasses off and on, talk to Eric Roberts, and later, try not to die. A director should be allowed to do a little more with his character, but maybe that wasn’t in the budget.
I didn’t hate Night of the Caregiver. In fact, I managed to watch the whole thing without fast-forwarding through it once, and my major gripe would be the lack of subtitles especially when it came to Anna Oris’ lines. Her accent is very thick and a little difficult to understand, even though she had some clever lines. Filmmakers should be subtitling their works anyway – especially for advanced screeners. Night of the Caregiver would work well into any pre-teen slumber party or Netflix and Chill evening where your partner isn’t keen on horror films. Stick around for the pre-credit sequence that is five minutes of props in the house they didn’t get to use during primary filming. It helps pad the film out to 86 minutes (which includes the credits).
Night of the Caregiver (2023) is unrated, but call it PG-13 for swears, people getting scratched, people getting shot, people getting bitten, mummified bodies in the attic, shifting shadows, and taunting demons. It’s not dangerous, just tacky.