Thursday, December 15, 2005

A Dark Place-2004

Story: Three friends (Rusty, Mikey, and Matt) move into a new house. Before they have even unpacked, a badly injured man staggers out of the woods and into their back yard. They call the police; only to find out that four people have been killed with similar bite marks and over thirty people have gone missing from the same wooded area with no clues ever found.

Rusty, in the typical tradition of horror films, decides to head into the woods to take a look around. He gets a bite taken out of his arm and begins to isolate himself and act strange. After two days, Rusty goes over the edge by crashing through a sliding glass door and running off into the woods.

Matt decides to take the law into his own hands and go after Rusty. Mikey feels that the whole situation is a bit much for him and heads back to wherever the three moved from. Enter Jon, the brooding hero type with a thirst for revenge for the loss of his woman and we have the final showdown between Matt, Jon, and the zombies who have been plaguing the forest. Right, I wasn’t that impressed with the complexity of the plotline either and may have made it sound a bit worse than it actually was.

Zombies: These are definitely not your Romero-style zombies. Although the filmmaker calls them zombies, they seem closer to vampires or some other species of creature to me. They run, grunt, and apparently don’t take very big bites when they attack. We don’t get many clear shots of them, but the zombies appear to be pretty normal looking people covered in mud. And, guess what? One of the film’s features tells us that is exactly what they are: mud-covered people.

The zombies can be killed by conventional means. No head wounds are necessary. In fact, the brooding hero prefers wooden stakes. I know. Zombies?

Gore: There is some decent blood in this film. Those looking for some heavy and nasty wounds will not find it here. A majority of the bleeding is done quickly and then cut away or cut away from the injury to show spurts of blood moving away from the point of attack. I suppose most of the injuries inflicted at these points are to be left up to the imagination of the viewer. The one exception to this is a decapitation scene, which goes by fast enough to look all right.

Score: The score is okay. I was expecting more of a cluster of bands in the background and was pleasantly surprised to find that they actually made their own score for the film with synthesized music and a keyboard. The music is dull at times, but suits some of the scenes well enough to create a somewhat creepy ambience.

DVD Extras: Extras include outtakes, features on how the film was made, and the film’s trailer.

Acting/ Dialogue: I must say the acting was not overly convincing. On the other hand, it was not cardboard. The actors demonstrated emotions appropriately and did a decent job at times. The dialogue was not too bad, although it was a bit campy at times. Here are a couple examples of the lines I found to be interesting:

“You can’t get him back now.”
“Why can’t I?”
“He’s in a darker place now.”
“They made it personal. I’m keeping it that way.”

Overall, I rate this film 2 and ½ out of 5 skulls. It’s a fair independent attempt. It lasts all of 45 minutes, so additional time could have made it more difficult to sit through or improved the film. I have no idea which. I won’t be holding my breath waiting for more films by these guys, but I suppose I would watch something else by them if I were bored.

Tagline: Their world seemed normal, but shadow loomed.

Country: USA

Year: 2004

Directed by: David Matheny


Chris Smith ... Matt
Kyle Mangrum ... Jon
A. J. Barrero ... Rusty
David Matheny ... Mikey

Review by hatefuldisplay (Ron Clark).


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