I ended last year with a review of Steve Lawson’s wonderfully cheesy HELLRISER, I also noted it shared a couple of characters with his earlier film NOCTURNAL ACTIVITY (AKA THE HAUNTING OF ANNIE DYER). Well, I got the chance to see it and pounced on it. I really shouldn’t have bothered.
The film opens with Annie Dyer (Raven Lee HELLRISER) in police custody being interrogated for multiple murders. As Detective Locke (Steven Dolton HELLRISER, DEVIL’S TOWER) presses her for details we flashback and see what happened. Annie moves into an apartment whose previous tenant Lex (Toni Frost) vanished under odd circumstances. Since landlord Fitz (Jonathan Hansler CONVENTION OF THE DEAD, AXED) was selling covertly recorded video of her to a Russian mobster he’s happy to get another large breasted female into the apartment. Cue odd poltergeist type events that convince Annie to hire Evie Nightingale (June Bladon) to investigate. After a couple of “shocking” revelations and a bit of blood, we’re back at the police station for a CARRIE inspired finale.
NOCTURNAL ACTIVITY is a straightforward “erotic” ghost story with none of the insane plot elements that made HELLRISER so much fun. Annie takes numerous baths and showers and rolls around in bed, her sleep troubled by dreams/flashbacks of tame lesbian goings on. There are a few attempts at humor involving Fitz that fall very flat and not one but two weak endings. While the first ending explains why Annie is in an asylum in HELLRISER the second seems to have been forgotten between films.
The most mysterious thing about NOCTURNAL ACTIVITY is why it takes so long to give the audience a good look at Annie in the nude. It obviously is aimed at the softcore crowd and Ms. Lee’s primary gig is a nude/fetish model so it isn’t a reluctance on her part. But for a large part of the film, we get a lot of tease, with even the “atmospheric” CGI mist is used to cover her nipples and other naughty bits.
We can, however, take heart in the improvement in Lawson’s abilities in the few short years since this was made. Hopefully, he continues to improve and deliver enjoyable genre junk food.