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After Nightfall Episode 6

You ever have that moment when a series leaves you on a cliffhanger and you’re suddenly filled with an urge to see more immediately, and simultaneously throw something at the screen because how dare they leave you hanging?

Trust After Nightfall to do this to me. And trust me to love them for it.

Episode 6, the Season 1 finale is the episode where the story starts moving forward, where things are happening, plot points are being explored and small incidents are finally becoming significant.

The episode opens with an insanely clever scene which appears to be a flashback to the morning of Troy’s murder, literally the first time we hear Troy speak or see him interact with other family members, and not as a ghost. However, this quickly morphs into the realisation that it’s a dream, which usually would drive me insane, but in this case it didn’t because Colin now knows the passcode to Troy’s iPad. As I said last week, the investigators could have opened it in seconds, but what do I know? Cliffhanger #1.

At conversion camp, we see the adorable Nathan (Robert Miniter) and Yardley (Adam Haylock) get closer. These two are just….God, I love them. I have never ever shipped a couple like this. Unfortunately it can’t last, because camp leaders, Melinda and Peter, burst in and declare that “therapy” will now be increased. Cliffhanger #2.

During another drug deal, Troy’s uncle receives the video from Isobel of his girlfriend cheating with another of his cronies. If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say that’s why Isobel nicked the phone from that woman in the last episode. Of course, the police can also trace where videos come from, even if passed from phone to phone (I toured cyberbullying plays in 2016, ok? I had to do some research!) so Isobel might not get out of this one even if she is a minor. Anyway, from the look on Dave’s face, I’d say his buddy will soon have a perfectly flat surface where his face used to be. Should be fun. Cliffhanger #3.

Meanwhile, Hayden and company observe Kobie digging a hole in the woods where Troy’s body was found. This better not be going where I think it is.
Cliffhanger #4.

Meanwhile creepy Oscar breaks into Kobie’s house to retrieve Troy’s phone (by hilariously climbing through the open window…so that actually works?) only to be caught by Kobie’s mother Faye and causing her a serious injury/apparent death. Nice one there idiot. You leave a traumatised child in your wake and possibly a dead woman. Cliffhanger #5.

And finally, we return to lead investigator Simon, who is stabbed by a hooded figure. Before he dies, he chokes out “You killed Troy!” Cliffhanger #6 ends Season 1 and leaves me absolutely cheering (silently, because I was watching this at midnight).

This episode ends the season on the highest of high notes with great acting and the best use yet of cinematography, camera angles and the use of atmosphere. We have possibly two more deaths, blackmail, revenge, mystery and LGBTQ issues, but still not enough to piece together the entire mystery. Questions are being answered for sure, and action is on the verge of exploding, but the pressure cooker that is After Nightfall still wants to keep us in suspense.

We’re left hanging on for more, yet in pure satisfaction that there’ll be more great drama to dive into in Season 2. I gave up watching TV years ago, and a series has not had me hooked like this since I can’t remember when.

Hurry up Season 2. We all need to know who killed Troy.

Watch all episodes here

After Nightfall Episode 5

Episode 5 so far has been my absolute favorite. This is the episode where things got emotional. Yes, I realise that the entire time we’ve been following the mystery of a murdered child. I get that. But now, in the latest installment, things seem to have taken a turn into new territory and I am cheering from behind my Macbook screen.

The action begins as investigators question Nathan’s parents on his whereabouts. As this is my favorite storyline in the series (sorry Troy. Still love you!), I found myself silently pleading for them to realise what’s happened to him and swoop to the rescue. But for now it seems no dice. I’ve been too busy hating Nathan’s parents to really consider the possibility that they could be suspects. His father, at least, is on my list. I really hate that man. Not even sorry.

Meanwhile Hayden and his friends Grace and Xavier spot money exchanging hands and begin to suspect Oscar and Kobie (who has a gloriously hilarious intro shot looking like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth. It has to be seen to be believed!) “That kid needs a beating” says Xavier. I couldn’t agree more.

Speaking of criminal activity, we see that along with having a secret money roll, filming people’s affairs and apparently having blackmail on her mind, Isobel also seems to have some very sticky fingers. Seriously, what is with this brat?!?

Last week, I wondered out loud if Colin had handed over the iPad to investigators. And now we discover that he has not and doesn’t plan to until he examines it himself. But he doesn’t know the password. Uh, while I fully understand the character motivation behind this, you do realise the police could open the iPad in a matter of seconds, right? Also there’s the minor issue of potentially tampering with/contaminating evidence…. *crickets* Ok then. Go for your life.

All my serial nitpicking aside, the best aspect of this scene is we finally see some real interaction between Colin and his wife Justine. This is the first time we see some of how the murder and Colin’s behaviour is affecting their marriage. I truly hope we see more of this. And if the final frame is anything to go by, I have a very strong feeling that Troy’s disabled Grandmother has a major role yet to play. Her anguished cry left me with chills. I don’t know if this particular actress has been in anything else I’ve seen, but I can’t take my eyes off her.

But now let me go to my most beloved moment in this episode and possibly the season thus far. The stunning scene between Nathan (Robert Miniter) and Yardley (Adam Haylock), another boy trapped at conversion camp. To go into too much detail about this moment here would be doing a major disservice to the series. You MUST watch it. They don’t kiss. They don’t even touch. But the warmth, intimacy and beauty of the writing and performances just leap off the screen. Robert Miniter and Adam Haylock, I take my hat off to you for your performances. Wayne Tunks has a true knack for picking the right actors to bring his work to life and to me, nowhere is it clearer than here. The proof is that I was wiping my eyes by the end.

I didn’t cry in Toy Story 3. I didn’t cry in The Lion King. I HATE The Notebook. I sat through Inside Out and didn’t shed a single tear. The bottom line is that I will only cry if a dog is involved, which is why I will never watch Marley and Me again.

Damn you Wayne Tunks. You did it. You got into my blackened soul, hardened from four years of retail work, the shattered heart I’m currently nursing and a lifetime of loving British comedy. You broke down the barriers which surround my emotions during the viewing of any media and I will likely not recover.

Damn you Wayne Tunks. And please for the love of all that’s good and holy, keep it up.

http://www.afternightfallseries.com

After Nightfall Episode 4

Episode 4. Troy’s phone is still missing. Troy’s boyfriend tipped off the authorities about a drug deal by Troy’s uncle. Troy’s father Colin is apparently being haunted by his sons’ spirit. And what exactly does Kobie know? With so many subplots and mysteries piling on top of each other, it’s nice to get the hint of answers in episode 4.

And I’m sorry Troy, but so far the storyline that has me hooked to the screen is Nathan, exiled to conversion camp by his parents. This week, we meet the camp leader, Peter, played by Andrew Wang lightly snacking on the scenery, and I mean that in a very positive way. He’s so much fun to watch, but at the same time incredibly unnerving. Beneath that used car salesman smile, there’s an oily menace. I have a feeling he’s viable to explode any moment, and sooner rather than later. Whatever lies ahead for Nathan doesn’t look good.

Meanwhile on the investigation front, Troy’s laptop has been found (does that mean Colin turned over the iPad?) but his phone is still on the most wanted list. And chillingly, the sleazy book store owner Oscar is revealed to be pursuing relationships with younger boys in town, including Troy. And how do we discover this? Because resident thug Kobie is revealed to be in possession of Troy’s phone (anyone else call that? Just me?) and he has blackmail on his mind.

On the other side of the story, Hayden is visited by Troy’s uncle and brother, who make threats over his recent betrayal.  Troy’s sister seems keen to be getting into the school of blackmail too. Happy families, everyone!

We’re more than halfway through Season 1, and I feel like there’s a lot more going on and far deeper themes and character to explore. If the writing, directing and performances continue at the current rate, we’re sure to reach one hell of a conclusion, wherever that may lead. For as fascinating as the characters may be, Troy himself remains a complete enigma.

WATCH EPISODE 4 HERE

After Nightfall Episode 3

Troy McLeavey is dead. Armchair detectives may already have their suspicions, but the investigation is getting underway as Episode 3 opens.

Troy’s grief-stricken father Colin is practically catatonic, his son’s spirit having seemingly led him to his iPad, hidden in the cubby house for reasons unknown. Troy’s sister has a box of cash hidden in her room for apparently nefarious purposes. The police force begin questioning persons of interest, including resident bully Kobie, who was washing what appeared to be blood from a shirt in the first episode (which I’d like to think is a red herring because that would be an infuriatingly obvious solution), and Troy’s drug dealing uncle.

The beginnings of a darker underbelly were revealed in Episode 3. Troy’s boyfriend apparently gave a tip off about a suspect, the ever silent Viv seems to have her own suspicions, one of the investigators seems to be playing on both sides and Kobie apparently knows a lot more than he’s letting on.
However, the storyline which caused the most emotion for me is the fate of Nathan, who awakens handcuffed to a bed in a conversion camp, where his ghastly parents have banished him. The image of him literally being snatched up by masked intruders in the middle of the night may seem a bit farfetched at first viewing, but no, this is honestly what happens to a lot of “troubled” teens, especially in America. I don’t like to think about the horrors likely ahead of him, but at the same time I want to see him come out the other side. Kudos to writer/director Wayne Tunks for exploring this very taboo subject matter, and we’re only 3 episodes in.

The beauty of After Nightfall is that even though there’s a huge ensemble cast, they all feel real. We don’t know all that much about them yet, but the mystery is intriguing rather than frustrating. We aren’t in Lost territory, where the writers were just making it up as they went along. There’s a sense of purpose here, like the answers are tantalisingly close but not within grasp. Not yet anyway. There’s certainly a lot of subplots, but it’s told in such a way to never feel over saturated or pretentious. There’s no other way to put it. The writing in After Nightfall is simply masterful.

It’s a shame that episodes are only ten minutes long, but I suspect the purpose of this was to leave the viewers wanting more. In which case I say, mission freaking accomplished.

CLICK TO WATCH AFTER NIGHTFALL

 

After Nightfall Episode 1 & 2

Maybe it’s the remnants of the Jack the Ripper walking tour I did on my recent trip to London, but I have a longstanding love affair with crime drama and mysteries. After Nightfall, a new web series written by celebrated writer Wayne Tunks, seemed right up my alley, so I was quite excited to check it out. The night it premiered, I finally arrived home from acting class at 11pm, settled down with a bowl of pasta, and pressed play.

We all know the saying. If you want something done right, do it yourself. Australian artists are taking this to heart. Our industry is suffering enough with never-ending tax cuts and general indifference to the arts. Hence, artists have to be more creative than ever when it comes to sharing and constructing our craft. Here, the creators have funded this ambitious project with the tried-and-true method of crowdfunding, and we should all be thankful for every cent poured into this absolutely wonderful series.
After Nightfall follows the aftermath of a young gay teen, Troy McLeavey, brutally murdered in a small rural town. Everybody is a suspect. His parents. His boyfriend. His ex-boyfriend or his ghastly homophobic parents. His drug lord uncle. The school bully. Predatory members of the community. The investigators themselves. Maybe even the butler did it.
A deceptively simple premise, but from the very first frame, the message to the audience is clear: you are in for one hell of a ride.

The first episode of course goes about establishing the world, the story and the characters. Many key players are unnamed initially but the strength of the actors makes the viewer able to glean exactly what they’re about. Therefore, the relatively short moments give you an eerie sense of what’s to come. Many scenes have minimal dialogue, allowing for greater atmosphere and mystery. Are there clues peppered throughout the silent moments? It certainly seems that way to an eagle-eyed viewer, but only time will tell.

Episode 2…well, the short answer is, it’s great. Troy’s family begins their struggle with grief, and members of the town start behaving suspiciously. Washing blood from a shirt, seemingly innocuous comments, silent looks of anguish from new faces. What will this all lead to? Mercifully, I was not watching this with my older brother who has that infuriating habit of predicting twists and answers out loud, so I only have my own thoughts at this point.

How very refreshing it is to see contemporary Australian work that isn’t set in the outback, doesn’t involve either World War, and doesn’t scream 1950s. Instead, the series dives into real people in relatable situations. There’s no pretence here, just the straight up story and characters. The audience is treated as intelligent, thinking adults. Visual and silent moments, lingering camera shots draw you in further. There’s none of the dreaded tell-don’t-show, there’s no excessive expositional dialogue, the pacing is excellent and from a production/photography point of view, it’s highly impressive how the cinematography can maintain the hair-raising darkness without descending into Tim Burton territory.

After Nightfall stars a host of talented and unknown actors, but of course the real star here is the writing. My regular readers will know exactly how critical I am of bad writing, and I honestly can’t think of a single criticism here. The writing is nothing short of brilliant.
Tunks doesn’t shy away from the violent reality of the subject matter, but he isn’t afraid to show subtler sides of everyday suffering either. One particularly moving moment for me, being the daughter of a single mother, was the heartbreaking scene of a mother going without food to make sure her child can eat. I can’t remember the last time I saw something like that on screen, and yet it’s an every day occurrence for many.

I guess if I had to nitpick anything, and I mean ANYTHING, about After Nightfall, it’s that the timeline can seem a tad out of order. Yeah, it’s a small town where everybody knows everybody, but would the police really inform the family before the body of a murder victim is even examined? Still, this is the first two episodes, so I’m not going to worry too hard about that.

The biggest compliment you can give any piece of art is that you want more. And in all sincerity, that’s exactly what I want here. I want a LOT more from this world. I want to see what will happen next. I want to get to know these characters. I want to dive deeper into the town. Most of all, I want the question answered.

Who killed Troy McLeavey?

WATCH HERE: https://afternightfallseries.com/