Movie Review: 'Devil's Night: Dawn of the Nain Rouge'

Bizarre Detroit urban legend inspires bad horror movie with Eminem's little brother.

Movie Review: 'Devil's Night: Dawn of the Nain Rouge'

Trying to bring order to the chaos of Devil’s Night: The Dawn of Nain Rouge is an exhausting task. I am merely being hyperbolic here, but I may actually put more work into sorting out this ludicrous plot than anyone actually involved in the making of Devil’s Night: The Dawn of Nain Rouge. Based around an urban legend in Detroit, with both Native American or, more honestly, racist, origins and supernatural origins, Devil’s Night: The Dawn of Nain Rouge is distilled chaos.

Devil’s Night: The Dawn of Nain Rouge appears to take place over the course of one day. Just after midnight on Devil’s Night, a young woman is attacked and killed in front of a would-be boyfriend. The guy is accused of the murder but he lays blame on the legendary Nain Rouge or Red Dwarf. The Nain Rouge is a red creature that scurries about in a hooded sweatshirt and a devil mask, complete with pointy red tail, he’s summoned by those who wish to set him upon particular villains.

But we are getting ahead of ourselves, I think. The timeline of Devil’s Night: The Dawn of Nain Rouge appears to shift in time at random. The morning after the girl’s death we meet Billie Jean Finnick, a former Army Sniper turned Police Sgt. Finnick is played by Jesi Jensen and let’s just all agree to assume that she was desperately let down by this script and direction that makes her appear about as charismatic as the color beige.

Finnick is a beat cop but she’s also assigned to investigate murders, I guess? But then, two detectives are also assigned to investigate? The two detectives are non-characters, aside from the odd fact that one of them is played by Nathan Mathers, the little brother of legendary rapper Eminem. Mathers, by the way, and apropos of nothing, receives top billing on the poster for Devil’s Night: Dawn of Nain Rouge, despite having a role that evidence indicates was greatly edited out in the final cut.

See how much he vaguely evokes his older brother?

The two detectives have random scenes in the first half of the movie and then their activities are mostly referred to by other characters. This is to make room for a cavalcade of characters who keep getting introduced into the movie well past the point where any sane person would begin introducing new characters. Nearly half way into the movie we are introduced to the Mayor of Detroit who has a son, Marcellus, who is the main target of Nain Rouge but it is only implied as to why these characters matter.

Both the Mayor of Detroit and his son have super-complicated back stories involving gang activity and political corruption, back stories that would take hours of another movie to explain. Here, those back stories are truncated into a few deeply misspent scenes of dull exposition because not only are there a million characters to introduce, everyone has to have an unnecessarily complicated backstory that is clumsily exposited in desperate reams of incredibly dull dialogue.

Two years into the runtime of Devil’s Night: The Dawn of Nain Rouge, a love interest for Billie Jean is introduced. Through mush mouthed and desperately reaching dialogue we find out that the love interest, Ellis (Robert Laenan), is the brother of a woman that was Billie Jean’s best friend who was killed in an unspecified foreign conflict. Why? Don't bother asking, this has next to nothing to do with anything.

Part of Billie Jean’s own extensive and entirely unnecessary backstory is that she suffers from PTSD and survivor’s guilt. This should be important to her complicated relationship with Ellis but just wait until you find out why he’s been introduced so late in the movie. It’s a humdinger. Ellis exists to play into an ending that is silly in a way that I am struggling to describe.

I’ve barely scratched the surface here and I haven’t even mentioned the bizarre stuff. The movie is based around an urban legend from Detroit but is set in a suburb of the big city. But, the movie does travel to Detroit. Why? It’s not because the character of the Mayor of Detroit or another late arriving main character detective, played by Grover McCants, have scenes in Motown. No, the movie travels to Detroit for just one epic helicopter shot that you almost have to see in order to believe.

Imagine the cost to this low budget horror movie to shoot in Detroit with a helicopter and the shot they choose to get is of their goofball Nain Rouge character running about on a rooftop growling loudly. This tiny man in a bad Halloween costume costume, a rubber demon mask, and a bouncy plastic tale, runs around a rooftop, growling at empty streets on a random building. If you’ve never seen Detroit, you would not even notice they are in Motown for the shot. Honestly, if this scene were shot just so the director could justify having a helicopter ride, it would make more sense than anything else in this movie.

So yeah, Devil’s Night; The Dawn of Nain Rouge is bad. The question is: Is the movie so bad that it’s kind of fun? Not really. I’m gonna say no. Though the helicopter rooftop goofabout is a laugh riot for all the wrong reasons, the rest of Devil’s Night: The Dawn of Nain Rouge is a rough sit. I got a low grade headache trying to piece together the plot and track the dozens of random characters introduced throughout the movie. Devil’s Night: The Dawn of Nain Rouge is far too frustrating to be fun bad.

Devil’s Night: The Dawn of Nain Rouge is streaming now for rental on many popular services.

movie review
Sean Patrick
Sean Patrick
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Sean Patrick

I have been a film critic for nearly 20 years and worked professionally, as a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association for the past 9 years. My favorite movie of all time is The Big Lebowski because it always feels new.

See all posts by Sean Patrick