Cast: Nadia Alexander, Toby Nichols, Karl Markovics
Writer: Justin P. Lange
Director: Justin P. Lange
Running time: 95 minutes
I suppose one of the highest levels of praise I can heap on a movie after years of doing film reviews is to say, “Well, that was different” upon the film’s conclusion. The Dark is certainly different and I’m hard pressed to compare it to anything else.
We are first introduced to Josef, a dangerous criminal, on the run from the law who takes refuge at an abandoned house in a tract of woods known as “the Devil’s Den” which is rumored to be haunted by a monster or evil spirit. Josef soon finds out that the rumors are not mere myth, but terrifyingly true in the form of Mina. Mina is a teenaged girl, brutally murdered by her mother’s boyfriend some years earlier for refusing his sexual advances. She returned to life as an undead revenant, living on human flesh.
Josef is not alone, however. In his car Mina finds Alex, a kidnapped boy, who has been horribly blinded and remains terrified of Josef and “the others” even after Mina assure him that his captor is dead. Mina’s initial instinct is to kill Alex, as she has done to others who unknowingly stumbled into her territory. But, seeing how helpless Alex is, Mina decides to try and help him get back to his family, and in doing so, finds her own peace.
If there is one film I can compare The Dark to it would be Let the Right One in. Like that film, this one finds a young boy befriending a young female monster whom he relies on for protection from those that want to harm him. Mythology runs deep with tales of those who died violently returning from the grave to exact their revenge. I can think of no more violent death than that of a child who is the victim of sexual assault, unstopped by her own mother, leading to her murder.
Nadia Alexander gives as compelling a performance by a young actress as I have seen in some time. Don’t mistake The Dark for a zombie film. While Mina is dead and lives on human flesh she still is able to speak, talk, and feel emotions and is still haunted by the memories of her own murder.
One fault, and it is a major one, is that writer/Director Justin P. Lange doesn’t do anything with Alex’s story. We know he was kidnapped. We know there were others involved, both captors and captives. Alex often refers to the rules that had to be followed and yet this goes nowhere. He seems to be there solely as a plot device to lead Mina to redemption. In the end it leaves the film incomplete but the good kind of incomplete like an empty plate when you just finished the last slice of pizza and want more.
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