I have the utmost respect for indie directors who slavishly work their butts off to pry the doors open, if only an inch, for their work to germinate among the populace of Hollywood horror giants. It is a surprising trend we find ourselves, as we have come to expect Hollywood level blockbusters, while at the same time, we herald the greats of the 70s-80s, in which many (if not all) were low budget, no name directors. How can we love and cherish the old while expecting Hollywood-esk films today? Have we become ultra-critical? Who is really to blame? We buy the tickets, do we not? We write the reviews, do we not? Hollywood only understands one thing, cash money. So, if we’re on the prowl for the movies of old, the ones we hold dear and sacred, those low-budget, non-Hollywood movies, then why are we so dependent on Hollywood supplying those movies for us today? We shouldn’t. And with that being said, we also shouldn’t expect to find these low-budget pictures in theaters. Consider It Follows. Say what you will about the hype-factor, but It Follows took a freaking long time to reach U.S. theaters, and even then the movie only released to a select few. Since then, it has become a type of “cult” film, and I’m using the term “cult” loosely. My point being, there are plenty of indie movies to nibble on that are not releasing to theaters, and if they are, only to a select few and only for a short while. Consider Dark Was the Night. I wished I’d gone to see this one in theaters when I had the chance. Good moody movie flicks deserve the kindling of the big screen. Alas, I did not. Recently, Netflix added this one to their growing collecting of indie horror movies. Over the weekend, I gave it a go. Here is my review.
Initially released back in October 2014, Dark Was the Night opens on a logging community where a few loggers have not checked in. The boss goes in search of the missing crew only to discover something else, something never before seen evil. Just south in Madden Woods, sheriff Paul Shields deals with a recent tragedy along with a growing mystery in his small densely populated town, who wake one morning and discover hoof-like tracks running throughout the small community, unlike any animal they’d seen before. People are obviously starting to panic. Wild speculation, from demonic to some folklore-esk creature whose stories have been told haunting the woods. The sheriff, suffering the loss of a son, ignores the incident, believing the event to be nothing more than a prank gone too far. His deputy, Donny, believes otherwise. Through the course of the movie, sightings of the creature begin to dwell on the frightening community. Sheriff Shields will need to let go of the past if he wants to save those in the present.
Dark Was the Night is a very moody and gloomy film with excellent character developments and top-notch acting, especially from up and coming actor, Kevin Durand. The color scheme is very bleak, and it is well-intended. And the twist at the end is very provocative of the nihilist endings of the great horror movies of old. But Dark Was the Night is a movie you shouldn’t expect to find tons of action. This is drama turned horror. There are no “jump scares,” nor any other typical horror trope many directors fall into. This isn’t spectacle, this is human drama. We’re following the story of a man who is suffering the greatest tragedy a parent can endure, the loss of a child. With that said, the movie certainly lacks in some areas. The pacing at times becomes boring and dull. The build up is slow with little pay off at the end. And the use of CGI and overall design for the creature is somewhat disappointing. The best parts are the moments when we only see a shadow or a glimpses or simply just hearing the thing hoofing up the stairs. And there ARE moments of dread in these spooky “where is it” shots. I liked the setting in those remote pine woods town, though I could have used more of the town itself, though I cannot quite put my finger on what’s really missing, but I feel like something is. The characters are well developed, perhaps the town needed a bit more finish.
Overall Dark Was the Night was entertaining. The ending certainly had the “oh shit” moment. The acting, very well done. For pacing and script, not bad, but could have used some improvements.
My Rating: 3/5