This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative
This is one of those films where the whole thing doesn’t make much sense so you just have to roll with it. The problem is that you can only roll with a film that actually has an engaging cast and quality characters…this one has neither. So Nomads is really doomed from the start and at no point in the film does it become all that engaging or interesting. You’ll definitely want to stay pretty far away from this one.
The movie starts with Jean being treated in the hospital but he doesn’t quite make it. Before he dies though, he manages to bite Dr. Eileen. The bite isn’t quite like a radioactive spider bite though because instead of super powers, she now has to relive the last few days/years of Jean’s life. She sees as he begins to unravel as he sees Nomads everywhere and they are going to take care of him for good. Can Jena avoid having the same fate or is she doomed here?
A really big portion of the film is devoted to the flashback of what happened to Jean. Ignoring the huge problem in that we already know he’s going to die anyway so the whole thing is rather empty, he’s just not a good character. His wife Niki is pretty reasonable the whole time and just seems like a nice person. Jean decides not to tell her anything though and then goes on pretty dangerous hunts to follow the Nomads and take pictures of them.
He takes a lot of pictures throughout and is constantly daring them to see him. Maybe he’s planning to write the biggest essay to end all essays but he really didn’t need this many pictures. Of course they would find him. He also knows that they’re dangerous since from the start they are writing disturbing messages all around and they flat out murder some random guy in a later scene. All Jean is doing is putting his wife in danger as well. The fact that he is keeping all of these secrets also means that Niki won’t be prepared when it’s her turn.
It’d be fun if we got to see Eileen reacting as she sees this by shaking her head or something. Unfortunately the magical bite from Jean means that she has to physically relive his events. So she is sort of playing a VR game you can say as she retraces his steps and looks rather crazy doing it. At least that makes it easy for the Nomads to track her down although to be fair they probably would have found her anyway.
So, this film is going for the classic horror approach of making the villains more powerful than any mere mortal. The characters can’t possibly do anything about them since their sheer numbers are crazy and they are probably all undead monsters anyway. The Nomads seem to want to torment the characters as much as possible by overloading them with fear before finishing them off. At least that would explain why they keep some characters alive. I guess maybe the guy in the dumpster scene didn’t give them the scared reaction they wanted so that’s why they destroyed him? I dunno and I don’t think the film does either.
Unfortunately Eileen isn’t a great character either. Sure, she’s better than Jean but it isn’t saying much. She immediately starts keeping secrets as well as she tries to uncover the French warning that Jean gave her before dying. Unfortunately it was not very helpful though. It basically boils down to “They’re coming to get you!”. Okay, it wasn’t that direct but essentially it’s that their spirits are everywhere so it’s not like you can beat them either. I wouldn’t say the end of the film leaves much hope for them either. In some ways you can draw some similarities to Fallen. The villain is around and you just have to hope that you don’t catch their attention. Once you do then it’s check mate.
The film can get randomly violent at times although I wouldn’t put it in the same ballpark as your average horror film or anything like that. Characters get beaten up pretty badly and since the opening takes place in a hospital get ready for one character needing to get live stitches. Still, it’s a little tamer than you would expect, but it’s not like that is going to do anything to save the film anyway. The whole story just feels like nonsense and the character cast is incredibly weak.
There is no real reason to fear the Nomads or find them as interesting characters because they have no personality. They seem like a bunch of juvenile delinquents who just so happen to have super powers and a matching fashion sense. They all wear the same leather jackets and try to take down as many heroes as possible. That’s it….that’s the extent of their character development. Then characters who are starting to have some development like Eileen’s doctor friend…just vanish later on. I suppose there isn’t much reason to keep them around but the cast was rather tiny so maybe at least have him help in the fight.
Of course, the odds of anyone believing you are slim since the Nomads only let some people see them. Pretty handy for their crew since it mans no backup will be coming. To get invested in a film you need something to latch onto but this film has nothing. There’s no scene where you can grab on and say “This was pretty interesting”. It just doesn’t happen and since the film is rather aimless, the scenes hit with the power of a bowl of soup.
Overall, Nomads is not a film I would recommend in the slightest. It could have been worse I suppose like if the guy owned a dog but the whole thing feels really pointless. There isn’t anything particularly positive to say about the film. If Jean had just minded his own business from the start then maybe none of this would have happened. If he had been frank with Niki then maybe at least he could have had a real plan. Instead he goes rogue and takes much bigger risks than he ever should have even considered. At least in that sense he’s like one of those old school horror protagonists who always makes the wrong call at every turn. If you want to watch a horror title definitely skip past this one.