Dark Was The Night – Released 2014
Starring: Kevin Durand and Lukas Haas
An evil is unleashed in a small town when a logging company sets up shop in the neighboring woods.
This is an atmospheric movie with a slow burn. The run time clocks in around an hour and a half. Kevin Durand plays a small town sheriff whose family has suffered the lose of a child. His wife has moved out to deal with the stress. If you’re looking for a quick monster flick with cheap jump scares and nudity then don’t pick this up. There are a lot of scenes with quiet reflection. Luckily, the actors carry those scenes quite well.
While the characters build around the small town there are signs stacking up that don’t look good. The opening scene shows something attacking loggers. Then a horse goes missing. Footprints show up all over town. A little later we find out that the pets in the area are gone. After that there’s a mass migration of birds headed in the wrong direction.
There are a few parts of clunky exposition. How the story of the lose plays out is delivered at an odd time and honestly cutting it out wouldn’t have hurt the story. Sure, it would have left questions, but the audience can fill in the holes on their own. Something happened, the child is gone, and it’s eating away at their marriage. The diner scene later on fits better than the forced conversation. Kevin Durand is a big guy. Seeing him hunched over in a booth was inadvertently funny. Not enough to kill the mood, it might have just been me.
The tension throughout the film is spot on. These are people you know, not just faceless fodder to fill up a body count. There are a couple of jump scares, but I wouldn’t call them cheap. A few scenes ring close to a few other movies. Some interior scenes have an almost Jurassic Park feel to them. The forest scenes almost have a Predator feel. Only instead of a highly trained team of Special Forces, it’s some hunters.
I really like this movie. The characters in it feel like real people. Instead of the usual horror movie where they split up and decide to get drunk instead of call for help, they think about things. They try to rationalize it. They try to figure out what’s going on and when the information starts pointing to something they don’t understand, they are understandably freaked out. For f***s sake, one of the hunters has a deer cam! It’s almost like the screenwriter took actual people into account. I looked up the writer: Tyler Hisel. He’s done three movies, one is a short film, and the other is a found footage set in Africa.
My only real critique about the movie is that all the daytime scenes are washed in blue. I get that it helps subtly translate the sheriffs outlook, but the scenes at night don’t have the same treatment which makes it a little inconsistent.
Watch It. There are plenty of worse movies that waste an hour and a half.
Link to the trailer: