NOCEBO on Shudder is a new horror-thriller starring Eva Green. It’s a real mindf*ck of a movie but in the best way. Of course, the previous movie from the same filmmakers could easily be described the same way. Read our full Nocebo movie review here!
NOCEBO is a new Shudder horror-thriller that might not be for everyone, but for those of us who enjoyed the previous movie from the same filmmakers, it’s a real treat. It’s the kind of movie that might technically be a thriller but the mind games (and straight-up mindf*ck experience) are what psychological horror movies are made of.
Plus, the movie stars Eva Green who is as brilliant here as she was when starring in Penny Dreadful. In fact, a few scenes brought me directly back to watching her in that amazing series. Alongside Eva Green, the movie stars Chai Fonacier in a breakout performance I’ll get back to.
WHAT DOES NOCEBO MEAN?
A Nocebo effect is when someone develops side effects or symptoms primarily because they believe they may happen. The complementary concept is the Placebo effect, where simply having positive expectations improve the outcome. While both a presumably psychological, they can result in measurable physical changes.
Continue reading our Nocebo movie review below. Find the film on Shudder on February 24, 2023.
From control to chaos in a split second
When the movie begins, we meet Christine (Eva Green) as a woman in control of her life. She’s a fashion designer creating clothes for children and she’s launching a new collection. Just as children are walking down the catwalk, she receives a phone call and everything changes.
Months later, she’s now a shadow of the woman we just met. She’s suffering from a mysterious illness that no one can quite get a grip on. It both puzzles her doctors and frustrates her husband – who really isn’t much help as he’s always traveling for work. Out of the blue, help arrives at the door in the form of a Filipino carer, Diana, who uses traditional folk healing.
While I have always adored Eva Green, she is even better when acting across from other strong cast members. Well, along with having a solid story and screenplay to work from, obviously.
In Nocebo, Eva Green has quite a few scenes on her own, where her character, Christine, is left wondering if she’s losing her mind. When she’s acting across from others, most scenes are across from either Mark Strong (Kingsman: The Secret Service) who plays her husband, or Chai Fonancier, who plays the Filipino carer.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen Chai Fonancier in anything before, but she is amazing in this. Of course, when looking at her IMDb page, this should come as no surprise. She’s an award-winning actor who has been working steadily in film and TV for over a decade.
Every scene between Eva Green and Chai Fonancier seems to peel back another layer of this story. This is exactly the point as Nocebo is essentially a mystery story. You may guess a few twists ahead of time, but I still found that watching it all be revealed was simply brilliant.
The ending of Nocebo on Shudder
Much of Nocebo can feel like a real mindf*ck. However, this isn’t because we’re left hanging without answers. On the contrary, the ending of Nocebo is full of answers and explanations.
The final few twists in the story are brutal but make perfect sense in the context.
Basically, what I’m trying to get at is simply that you need to enjoy the ride and allow the story to unfold. As the viewer, we’re in the same place as Eva Green’s character “Christine”. We suffer alongside her while we also see Diana doing strange things in the background.
Flashback by flashback, we see what Diana was experiencing during the opening scene which also showed Christine on top of the world. It is a full circle, which means the ending of Nocebo is directly connected to the beginning.
Watch Nocebo on Shudder!
Nocebo was directed by Lorcan Finnegan and written by Garret Shanley. The two also made the horror sci-fi mystery Vivarium (2019) which starred Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg. Nocebo is their third feature film and their debut was in 2016 with Without Name.
They always make movies that leave my head spinning, but I still love the crazy ride they take me on. Right now, their films are always around 5 or 6 on IMDb, but when you dive into these user ratings, they’re all over the place. Often having quite a lot of both 1 and 10 ratings in the mix. This is a clear indication that their movies might be “love it or hate it”. Personally, I love them.
The movie premiered at Sitges Film Festival in Spain on October 14, 2023. This is easily one of the biggest genre film festivals in the world – where it was nominated in the “Best Motion Picture” category – so it’s not surprising that it went on to play at various other film festivals worldwide in the following months.
The movie was also released in US theaters in November 2022 via RLJE. Now the wider genre-loving audience can watch it on Shudder. And if you’re in the UK, it’ll be on Netflix on February 22.
Nocebo is streaming exclusively on Shudder from February 24, 2023.
Director: Lorcan Finnegan
Writer: Garret Shanley
Cast: Eva Green, Mark Strong, Chai Fonacier, Billie Gadsdon, Cathy Belton, Anthony Falcon
A fashion designer is suffering from a mysterious illness that puzzles her doctors and frustrates her husband, until help arrives in the form of a Filipino career, who uses traditional folk healing to reveal a horrifying truth.