Reviews: Dark Was The Night

We review the upcoming Dark Was The Night starring Kevin Durand and Lukas Haas.

"We're cops in dark places."
Stop me if you've heard this one before: a small community is terrorized by a mysterious monster and it’s up to a brooding sheriff and his faithful deputy to save the town. Dark Was the Night attempts to breathe new life into tired horror film tropes, but for the most part plays out in a predictable and generic manner. It’s not entirely mediocre, as some of the performances are above average and the slow-burn style story is compelling. 

Making a good “creature feature” is a delicate balancing act of building up a sense of dread and actually giving the audience what they want by showing the monster. If the monster has too much screen time it loses its power to instill fear. Stephen Spielberg’s iconic film Jaws is a textbook example of how to successfully maintain a perfect equilibrium of show-and-tell.

While the plot is rather basic, the actors put in commendable efforts to bring it to life. Kevin Durand is excellent as the morose Sheriff Paul Shields and Lukas Haas does equally as well as Deputy Donny Saunders. The rest of the acting is unexceptional but it gets the job done and doesn’t detract from the film. Shields’ family troubles are just as much a part of the conflict as the monster menace, and that is actually the portion of the writing that works the best. The horror aspects aren’t as scary as they could be, and there is way too much reliance on jump scares and misdirection. However, the back story of the monster is intriguing and uses some local folklore in a unique way.

"We're cops when it's light out too.
But that's not as exciting."
For the most part, Dark Was the Night is filmed well and the editing and production look professional. The entire film has a cool blue tint to it which gives everything a cold and ultimately sterile feel. It looks higher budget than it is, but there isn’t really anything interesting in the set-design or the cinematography. It’s not “bad” just…bland. The musical score is standard horror movie stuff and it’s functional. There are the usual scary music cues and foreboding moody ambience. The film does seem to lose some steam in the final act though there are some surprises to be had. While there isn’t really anything egregiously terrible about this film, it does nothing special to make itself stand out from the pack in the already overcrowded horror genre.

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-Michelle Kisner