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Dark Corners (DVD)

Dark Corners DVD (click for larger image)Starring Thora Birch, Glen Beck, Oliver Price, Christien Anholt

Directed by Ray Gower

Distributed by Starz Home Entertainment


Susan Hamilton leads an enchanted life. She has a loving husband, a beautiful home, and all the sunshine and farts anyone could ask for. Well, there is one little black spot on her perfect world: Every moment she sleeps she is forced to live out someone else’s life … someone who looks almost like her in a nightmarish world. In the realm of dreams, beautiful blonde Susan becomes trashy, dark-haired Karen. What follows is a disturbing, almost Silent Hill-like tale.

Dark Corners is actually more of a dark comedy than a horror movie. Characters make light of death, and a penis gets snapped in half. There is disturbing imagery throughout both worlds, but it takes a backseat to some of the funny conversations that take place. The girl talk humor is targeted more towards women though, in the same fashion as Sex and the City, which sort of left this male viewer perplexed as to what to make of the film.

Not exactly what you were expecting from a horror movie? Me either, and things get even more complicated.

Dark Corners DVD (click for larger image)I am confused. Dark Corners is the first film since Barbie’s Princess Swan that actually made my brain malfunction, which resulted in my wondering around a nudist resort trying to sell three-piece suits. A film should not send you away with fifty questions and zero answers. This sort of situation cements the feeling that director Ray Gower wanted to make a very cerebral film but became confused about how to use symbolism properly. All too often many strange sights never amount to anything but just strange distractions from a flawed film.

**For those who don’t want to spoil the film, don’t read my following theories on just what the hell Dark Corners is supposed to be about.**

Theory #1

Susan is dead from the start of the picture. This would explain why her mother is listening to a message Susan left at the end of the film before getting off’d. From that first scene on we are seeing a version of Hell through the killer’s mind. The bastard has to relive his crimes through his victims’ eyes for the rest of eternity, but this still does not explain the appearance of the cat-eye kids, voyeuristic bums, or Susan’s alter-ego Karen.

Theory #2

Susan is dead from the start in this theory as well, but this time she is the one who is stuck in Hell. She pictures herself as a beautiful woman with a perfect life who just wants a child. However, as the film has shown us before, not everything is as it seems. Perhaps Karen isn’t the real version, instead Susan is. This may mean Susan is just a grungy whore who has had several abortions and is now paying for killing those children in Hell. That would make sense of the constant references to vaginal bleeding, miscarriages, dead fetuses and evil kids with cat eyes.

**Read on spoiler free …**

Dark Corners DVD (click for larger image)Or maybe Ray Gower just got a little lost himself in terms of executing the many variables in his film. A movie does not have to lay out all the answers for you, but it would be nice if the pieces actually fit when one tries to find the answer. Instead of everything coming together, we are left with a slew of jigsaw parts that are left over and appear to be part of another puzzle entirely.

Visually the film is amazing. For a first-time filmmaker/writer Gower really makes the two contrasting worlds of Karen and Susan come alive with color and detail. Susan’s world is bright, beautiful, and very calming while Karen’s is dirty and almost sickening to watch. I certainly wasn’t expecting such a good looking production, and it points that with a little more growing Ray Gower could have a bright future in the horror genre.

On the supplemental side of the fence, all that is to be found here is a quick making-of documentary that sheds little light on any of the above issues. Pity, as I have a feeling that a commentary would really have gone a long way in bringing this baby to the big dance.

Dark Corners is a unique film that never quite comes together the way that it should. Thora shows the same great caliber of acting she has in the past but is betrayed by the confusing setup and follow through of the movie’s plot. If you aren’t looking for a mind-boggling feature, then just watch Dark Corners for its frightening visuals and Thora’s cute wit. I still don’t understand why no one wanted any of my fabulous suits …

Special Features
Making-of featurette

Film

3 1/2 out of 5

Special Features

1 out of 5

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Mike Phalin

Since 1997, Michael Patrick Phalin has been a contributing writer to various websites including Dread Central, iMockery, Bloody Disgusting and KrytenSyxx. During the early 1980s, Phalin's love of the movie industry was fueled by the VHS tapes he found during his time spent at the video rental store his mother worked at. Rather than attending a daycare regularly, young Michael would form a tower of tapes with interesting cover art and go watch each one, the very first of these being the original 'A Nightmare on Elm Street.' From that point he was hooked on horror and the process behind creating special effects. In his twenties, Mike met Steve 'Uncle Creepy' Barton and was soon aiding the horror website Dread Central with film reviews. As the site grew in popularity, Phalin soon started writing news stories and conducting interviews on a daily basis. After a few years, he decided to take a break from writing to focus on other opportunities. After moving to a beach community with his wife Michelle, both were cast to appear in the final season of A&E's home improvement show 'Fix This Yard' in 2013. This event rekindled Mike's love of the entertainment industry. Between the time he spends being with his family, Michael continues to contribute to Dread Central both with writing and photography. In his mid-thirties, Phalin took up oil painting after being inspired by an episode of Bob Ross. Pieces of his artwork and photography can be found on his Tumblr and official website.