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Dark Was the Night (DVD)

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Dark Was the Night

dark was the night 214x300 - Dark Was the Night (DVD)Starring Kevin Durand, Lukas Haas, Bianca Kajlich

Directed by Jack Heller


From the very opening of Jack Heller’s creature-in-the-woods film, Dark Was the Night, I had a feeling that it was going to be worth some heavy mentioning, and senses don’t fail me now, I was right. The brutal slaughter of a logging foreman by an unseen force was just the right remedy for the current state of cinematic horror “blahs” I’ve been enduring, so let’s hit this sucker head on, shall we?

Kevin Durand, who currently is co-starring in FX’s “The Strain,” takes the lead role as Sheriff Paul Shields in the sleepy small town of Maiden Woods – his marriage is dissolving at a rapid rate, mainly due to his never-ending blame upon himself for the death of his youngest child. His wife, Susan (Kajlich), has forgiven him for the accident; yet, Paul simply cannot shake the cloak of resentment that he harbors for himself, and quite simply, we as the audience feel his pain. Durand has GOT to be commended for his performance in this film, as the grief effortlessly seeps from his sullen face for nearly the entire runtime – powerful conveyance, indeed. His partner is the never aging Lukas Haas in the role of Donny, a former NYPD officer making the leap from the big city to the even bigger woods – he seemed a step behind Durand, but then again not many others could have run neck and neck with him in this film.

Now for our focal point in the film: whatever could be lurking in the woods and wreaking some serious havoc upon the townies – examples in creepiness are spooked and disappearing cattle, hoof-like marks in the dirt, and the meanest scratch marks on metal since Mr. Krueger decided to slip on that ratty ol’ razor-mitten of his many moons ago. Everyone living in town either is frozen in fear or has surmised that this is simply the stuff of legends, and superstition isn’t to be messed with. The film definitely takes its time in the reveal of what’s prowling the forest; yet, you’re not dragged to your death in the viewing pursuit – the gloom and doom of the atmosphere completely acts as a tether to guide you along, and what a tour we’re led on.

Incorrect tempo can be an absolute killer (not intended) in horror films, and if not played correctly, you’ll have the entire shebang blown to hell before the movie can have a chance to developmentally ramp up; however, this is not the case here at all – each and every character plays an integral part in the film’s payoff in a multitude of questions:  Will Paul overcome his grief and save the town he’s sworn to protect? Will he reconcile with his wife and pick up the pieces of their shattered marriage? Most importantly, what in the name of Colonel Sanders chicken is rampaging through the woods, shredding all that it encounters?

One piece of this creative puzzle that I’ve failed to mention until now is the complete abandonment of surefire fright tactics such as jump scares and spastic camera redirections, specifically designed to obtain some type of reaction from the audience. Instead, the ever-present looming “what and where is it?” factor works like a charm. If I had to pick on a negative, it would be the reveal itself, and I’m not the type to ruin a film for potential viewers, but let’s just say that the end result is less than spectacular, but no worries, people – this is one of those watches where the journey is 100 times better than the arrival, and with the absolute rock-solid work performance-wise by the cast, Dark Was yhe Night is a trip into the woods that not only will give you chills, but provide you with the urge to press “play” over and over again.  Highly recommended.

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User Rating 3.2 (20 votes)

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