In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been watching tons of movies lately. I’ve been able to dig into things that I, a few months ago, thought I’d never have time for. A little shifting around of my every day routine, however, has allowed me the luxury of checking out some horror flicks that otherwise would go unwatched, collecting dust on my shelves. Tonight’s feature is Justin P. Lange’s The Dark.
A wanted man finds refuge in rundown house in the woods of Devil’s Den. He quickly finds out that the stories of a haunted soul in these same woods are actually those of truth and he meets a bloody and brutal end. Now, his prisoner and his killer begin a relationship built on shared experiences… and lots of blood.
I usually go into a movie with some level of knowledge of said film’s plot. The rare times when I steer clear of even the most miniscule of detail are, more often than not, met with a pleasant surprise. The Dark has proven to be another one of those fortunate experiences.
The Dark is very much like Let the Right One In (or its American counterpart, Let Me In) in both tone and plot. The relationship between our main characters Mina (Nadia Alexander, TV’s “The Sinner”) and Alex (Toby Nichols, Netflix’s “Iron Fist”) is an even more grim take on the budding relationship between Let‘s Oskar and Eli (or Owen and Abby, depending on which version you are familiar with). Mina and Alex have both lived through heinous acts of violence, bringing the two closer together as they cope with life after the trauma.
Both Alexander and Nichols do a remarkable job portraying characters that could not have been easy to get in the headspace of. The young performers are extremely talented and I quite enjoyed watching them together on screen, throughout the film’s 95 minute runtime.
Not quite your average horror film, The Dark can perhaps be more accurately described as a drama mixed with some supernatural elements. It is brutal at times, but also beautifully touching at others. It is a bit more sluggish than I like my films to be, horror or otherwise, but I still never took my eyes away for one second; I was too invested in the story and needed to know exactly why Mina was the way she was and what was to come next.
Unfortunately, we never quite learn what caused Mina to be the way she is, what made her become this thing of the Devil’s Den ghost stories. That truly is really my only gripe with the film; I would have loved to know more of what caused this resurrection, but alas, I am left wondering.
Justin P. Lange’s directorial debut is a great film. It is familiar in some ways, but also original and intriguing. He has proven himself to be an imaginative storyteller and I look forward to any future projects he may bring to the genre.
Be sure to pick up The Dark on DVD, available now from Dark Sky Films. You won’t regret it.
I give this one 3.5 rules out of 5.