THE NIGHTINGALE is a new thriller drama from Jennifer Kent. She’s the writer-director behind the iconic horror movie The Babadook. With her latest movie, she’s giving us a very realistic and extremely brutal story. Read more in our full The Nightingale review here!

The Nightingale is a new thriller-drama set in 1825. It takes place in the Tasmanian wilderness and is a very brutal and realistic revenge story. Throughout the movie, there are many rapes and murders which are clearly meant to show us how little human life meant. Especially the lives of women and people of color.

Jennifer Kent, who also wrote and directed the horror movie The Babadook has written and directed this movie. She’s made it in a way that doesn’t shy away from showing the horrors of Australian colonization. And yes, “horror” is definitely the correct terminology despite this movie technically being a “thriller drama”.

Read more in our The Nightingale review below.

Tasmania was hell on Earth

While the brutal horror of the Australian colonization is somewhat known, many may not realize that Tasmania was probably the worst place. This was where the very worst of the British criminals were sent. And then, to create some sort of “gender balance”, they sent women who had committed only minor “survival based” crimes there as well.

This meant men outnumbered women 8 to 1. And we’re talking murderers and rapist so, obviously, it was literally hell on Earth for the women sent there. Of course, the Aboriginals living in Tasmania didn’t have it any better and we do get to specifically see how women and people of color were treated.

The Nightingale takes place in this setting and it is not fun to watch. But it is important and it is thrilling as all hell to see the Irish-born Clare (Aisling Franciosi) and Aboriginal guide Billy (Baykali Ganambarr) go after the British soldiers.

The Nightingale (2018) Review

Watch out for Aisling Franciosi

We’ve been keeping our eye out for Aisling Franciosi ever since she had a key role in the brilliant series The Fall. The series is on Netflix now and starred Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan. In The Fall, Aisling Franciosi is a teenage girl who has an affair with a serial killer played by Jamie Dornan. And yes, she is mind-blowingly good.

So much so that I felt relieved to watch her in The Nightingale just to have another character to associate her with. Aisling Franciosi did also portray Lyanna Stark in Game of Thrones but I simply didn’t make the connection there. With her role as Clare in The Nightingale, she should be fast on her way to getting a lot more starring roles.

Also, we have a debut from Baykali Ganambarr who co-stars as the Aboriginal tracker, Billy. Baykali Ganambarr is equally impressive in his portrayal and I am very happy to see he already has another movie coming up. He’s currently filming the Western The Furnace by Roderick MacKay which will be out in 2020.

Sam Claflin also co-stars in The Nightingale and he plays a real monster. The extremely charming Sam Claflin (The Hunger Games) isn’t charming at all in this movie. But he is damn good at portraying Hawkins; A man in power who will do whatever it takes to stay in power!

Watch The Nightingale on VOD and Hulu now!

The Nightingale is being released by IFC which does tend to be a quality sign from the get-go. Of course, since this movie was written and directed by Jennifer Kent, who gave us The Babadook, we already knew we had to watch it.

By no means is The Nightingale easy or comfortable to watch. However, if you like a good revenge movie then this is for you! And yes, that does mean that before we get to any sort of revenge, you will be sitting through some very terrible crimes. It is a brutal story that I’m sure is extremely realistic.

Personally, I think it’s high time that we acknowledge the brutality of colonization (and the slaughter of native people) in movies and not “just” in history books. Books can do a lot, but when the horror is shown on screen, it does tend to become even more real. Also, this means it’s impossible to ignore.

You cannot unsee the brutality of what takes place in The Nightingale. Nor should you want to!

The Nightingale is out on VOD and Hulu from November 1, 2019.


Director: Jennifer Kent
Writer: Jennifer Kent
Stars: Aisling Franciosi, Sam Claflin, Damon Herriman, Baykali Ganambarr


1820s Tasmania. A young Irish convict woman seeking revenge for the murder of her family, takes an Aboriginal male tracker with her through the interior and gets much more than she bargained for.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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