Movie Name: Dark Was the Night
Studio: Caliber Media Company
Release Date(s): October 16, 2014 (Screamfest Horror Film Festival)/July 24, 2015
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
The town of Maiden Woods is in danger. A legendary beast has been unleashed from the nearby woods and is now making its way into town…first taking animals and then people. Sheriff Paul Shields (Kevin Durand) and his deputy Donny Saunders (Lukas Haas) are attempting to stop the creature but battling their own demons and insecurities. As the danger grows, Shields and Saunders might be the only thing keeping the town of Maiden Woods alive.
Directed by Jack Heller, Dark Was the Night is a horror monster thriller. The movie finds its basis from an 1855 event in Topsham, England in which the town found hoof prints all over with no explanation. The movie was released at the 2014 Screamfest Horror Film Festival but received wide release in 2015. The film was released to mixed to negative reviews.
Dark Was the Night was a surprising find. I saw the trailer on another movie and like the atmosphere it was creating. I decided to check it out. While the atmosphere of the trailer was there, it felt like a lot of atmosphere with not enough meat to the main story.
The story does a good job with the tortured characters but lacks in other places. Both Haas and Durand’s characters with a past are highly developed and their arc is good. This is combined with a so-so horror movie. I like monster movies but it never really developed past the atmosphere. I wanted more.
Kevin Durand often plays the heavy but here he is the lead. He actually was rather good as the tortured soul who was tormented by his son’s death. Lukas Haas just never is an adult to me. He will always be a kid be it in Witness, SolarBabies, or even Mars Attacks! He doesn’t do a bad job, but I have a hard time getting past it. There are some undeveloped characters in the town and it kind of detracts from the main leads at the end.
The film is very stylistic. The exposure of the film is bright and often takes on a blueish tint. The flipside of this is the monster is quite dark. It becomes obvious from the development of the movie that the monster won’t show up until the end, but it still (for the most part) never gets its full screen time.
Dark Was the Night ends with a classic horror ending. This technically leaves it open for a sequel though the themes of the movie don’t give any indication that there will actually be one (nor does it make sense that there would be one for the characters). I still wouldn’t mind seeing the creature return and maybe go deeper into the background…it probably wouldn’t work, but it might be more fulfilling.