In an alternate-reality version of the 1950’s, The Soviet army has invaded New York and released some undefined biological threat, and a small group of citizens laying low in their small tenement building until it all blows over. Except it doesn’t; rather troubled teen Joanna has come down with a case of “The Darkness”, and what lies within is as dangerous as the threat outside of the building’s walls.
Treading the same ground as the films of horror maestro/social commentator George A. romero we get a rather diverse cast, holed up in a close quarters while the world falls to absolute shit around them… and while we definitely get a strong dose of the ol’ horror biz, this flick has a few other things on it’s mind as we delve into isolation, mental health, misogyny and more which takes things in a more realistic and dark direction. This is not a satire, rather a condemnation of various social mores.
Thankfully writer/director Nicole Groton is more than up to the task of handling the ensemble cast, terror moments, and messages with aplomb, resulting in none of the various plot points going astray; it’s an impressive bit of filmmaking and manages to create a satisfying viewing experience for horror hounds and those that dig on deeper gravitas in equal measure.
Adding to the overall aesthetic is cinematography and set design that manage to convey a dreary world punctuated by splashes of Bava-esque color choices. It’s a great look that manages to do a lot with very little.
To sum it all up; Darkness in Tenement 45 is a nice slice of isolation based terror that we haven’t seen handled so well since the aforementioned Romero was in his prime.