Covid19. Coronavirus. Death. 

Pandemic. Global emergency. Stay-home. 

Hand-washing. Masks. Desperation.

These are but a few of the keywords that'll not just define 2020, not just the rest of the decade (very likely), but also the young adults now entering the initial years of being adults. As if things weren't already difficult for Millennials, with recession after recession, unions and trade jobs dwindling, production being outsourced, gig work seen as a very attractive "quick money" option, and an ever-eroding safety-net in the long-term. Add to the pile the realization of their physical bodies vulnerable AND that the multiple social, economic, judicial, and democratic systems in America aren't nearly as strong or prepared as they had been taught. 

Times are dire.

With a movie title like Night Sweats, you have instant relatability built into the minds of every potential streamer ("moviegoer" isn't technically "right" for the time being). The story of the film involves the exploitation of young adults - specifically males - on the canvas of New York City living, for the sake of potential monetary profit. A generation sold to the highest bidders, knowledge or consent not important, but snuck into "terms and conditions" to cover liability anyways. It's all so obviously sleazy, and it's happening in real-time. Nothing new, really, but compelling none the less. 

Oh, and it involves the spread of a virus.

Pardon my over-selling of the premise and our collective need for engaging entertainment that articulates the panic of the moment, but I have to seek out something positive, even if it's found in the conception. Night Sweats is, sorry not sorry, pretty awful. It's an exercise in absolute pretentiousness, sparked from an "A-HA!" kind of idea - likely induced from a second-hand marijuana high - ripped from a knock-off Alex Jones video that was viewed on DailyMotion. The days of college dorm-room enlightenment have to end at some point. You can't be forever stunned by cut after cut of Loose Change. Wake up, please.

A skateboarding young man from a small town comes to NYC to live with an old friend, with the hopes of gaining some alternative culture, meeting some cool people, and diving into the bohemian "experience." His use of a skateboard is primarily restricted to commuting through gentrified neighborhoods. I was honestly shocked that he wasn't renting his board through a ride-sharing rental app. He hooks up with a young lady in the most awkward of one night stands, clearly showing just how inexperienced he is, how important this moment must be for him, and just how much she isn't particularly interested. This clash of motivations and expectations just highlights the sadness of courtship for the two of them. One has an idea of romance that's unrealistic, the other is just exhausted but rolls with the punches out of need for sensation in any form. Alone, this had promise. 

Then his roommate is found in vomit, shaking uncontrollably. Then a roided-up body-builder, claiming to be an EMT, comes in to help. Then a mystery becomes a conspiracy. Then our hero kid entitles himself to the role of "detective." Then pre-established potential twists are revealed to be genuine surface-level wasted opportunities. Then the story resolves itself by not resolving anything but stating something that was already understood previously. 

New keyword: Frustration.

Night Sweats combines the acting, the dialogue, and the line-delivery of Troll 2 and The Room with the full of itself direction of an oblivious "auteur," with none of the intrigue and passion that comes with productions of the sort. It reaches for our attention by aiming for the Moon itself, but is unable to propel off the ground as it's using sparklers for fuel. Decoration without anything to celebrate.

I dislike being so negative, but these are unprecedented times, with more to come. A film that belongs to a new genre that ought to be called "Neo-Yuppie Thrill-Piece" but pretends to be a contemporary tale of dangerous discovery and personal truth, ultimately falls less than flat, becoming a whole new dimension for scientists to study. 

A reflective moment between our lovestruck pseudo-investigator and his uninterested and apathetic object of affection, where emotional resonance gives way to a sliver of honesty is what keeps Night Sweats breathing, if only by a machine. It's a single firework in a sea of cold pavement. A flashy decoration marketed with exciting punctuations but ultimately riding solo into a cloud of unrealized expectations. 

Stay home, Millennials. Dare not visit the beach, and definitely don't speak brazenly on camera about the virtues of rolling the dice with death. Though perhaps they can't be fully blamed. Sold out for the short-term and setup for control in the long-term, what did you expect?

RATING: 1 / 5