Reviews: The Dark Place

Mr. Mike Stec has some words about The Dark Place. 

"Ahhhh....a comforting coat before a
really bad movie...."
The worst sin that a movie or really any form of entertainment can commit is simply being dull.  This is not the same as being bad; there is plenty of entertainment to be found in "bad" movies.  Some bad films like The Room or Birdemic can even be elevated to cult classics, beloved by film masochists who can't resist the lure of earnest failure.  But there are many films that simply have nothing interesting to offer.  They're not bad because they're obviously poorly made (though it's entirely possible that they are), they're just disinteresting on numerous levels.  The Dark Place is just such a film.

The Dark Place lures you in with its title, leading you to believe that maybe it could be an interesting psychological thriller or a halfway decent B-horror flick.  This is unfortunately a far better deception than any of the so-called "twists" in the film.  The Dark Place is the story of Keegan Dark (see what they did there?), a young man with a troubled past who returns home to his estranged family only to end up entangled in a web of secrets and deception.  if it sounds like a mediocre Lifetime movie, that's because that's basically what this is. 

"Let me end your suffering."
Literally the only difference between this film and said Lifetime movie is the fact that Keegan and several other lead characters are gay.  In the film this plays as more of a creative choice by writer/director Jody Wheeler than anything vital to the plot.  It's actually fairly refreshing to see gay characters who are not fully defined by their sexuality or used as a gimmick, and other than a couple of gratuitous but non-graphic sex scenes little or no importance is put on it.  Unfortunately, the characters are hollow TV movie stereotypes, so it turns out that being gay actually is the most interesting thing about them.  The acting and dialogue really aren't bad per se, in a sense that they're poorly acted or written, they're just kind of there in service to a mediocre story.  The "twists" are not so much shocking as they are kind of flat and even kind of expected.  Even the one interesting thing the film has going for it, Keegan's photographic memory, is underutilized to the point of mainly just serving as a guide to the bewildered viewer to make sure they're still following along.

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It's rare to see a film that literally has nothing to offer, but The Dark Place achieves this.  It wastes every opportunity it has to do something clever or innovative and instead churns out a generic TV movie with little or no redeeming value.  There's honestly nothing esthetically bad about the film, nor really anything truly good.  All that The Dark Place is is the worst a movie can possibly be: dull.

-Mike Stec