Movie Review: The Dark (2018)

October 26, 2018

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Ol’ Josef Hofer (Karl Markovics) is one bad hombre, and he is hell bent to get to a remote location, in this case a supposedly haunted house, where he can lie low. Once there, he finds the arcane abode inhabited by a sole occupant; Mina (Nadia Alexander) who admits to being the “monster” the locals are on about…and she is in fact an undead, flesh eatin’ ghoul who lives in her old home and munches on the occasional traveler. Buuut, no mere zombie is she; nope…she can remember her past, speak, and generally display a whole spectrum of emotions…emotions that come to the fore as she becomes attached to Josef’s teenage hostage Alex (Toby Nichols)…a boy he blinded and mentally fucked up six ways to Sunday. Speaking of fucked up, we learn that our ghastly heroine had an alcoholic mother and was sexually abused by her boyfriend. Now with John Q. Law looming near, will Mina surrender Alex over to them, or keep him close, as his companionship is causing her carnivorous ways to wane, and her mortality to return…
The Dark‘s greatest strength lies in it’s performances. Alexander’s Mina is a multi-layered, sympathetic creature…formed from abuse, but still able to be more human than those around her, and Nichols as Alex delivers a strong performance as well; remarkably so for actors of such a young age. Adding to the affair, is a fantastically dreary and mostly monochromatic color palette that perfectly matches the grim, cold goings-on, and a strong make-up job on out heroine. Of course the film’s uniqueness is to be praised as well, as seldom does such raw emotion creep into a tale of the supernatural, but therein exists a major fault with The Dark
Simply put; it’s a bit disingenuous to have the major underpinning of your fright flick being the rather horrific abuse of two minors that have left them physically and emotionally destroyed. We have a film about a flesh eating ghoul, but the abuse angle is handled with utmost gravitas, and for me the two worlds just never collided completely. Basically, the impact of the abuse almost seemed cheapened by the horror biz…but the biz is what I came for and enjoyed…and there the snake eats it’s tail with this picture.
All in all, The Dark is the feel bad flick of the year; it’s well made, well acted, and generally a solid film, but the differing story-points never seem to gel as cohesively as they could…in other words, maybe zombies don’t belong in child abuse pictures.


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