Posted October 28, 2018 by Chris Hick in Film Reviews

The Dark (2018) DVD Review

Each Halloween horror fans seek out new horror films and then tend to go back to the classics. Frightfest is one of the conduits that new horror films get to be seen in the UK and The Dark (2018) is one of those shown at this years Frightfest. The Dark is an Austrian-Canadian co-production that draws on backwoods horror with a new twist on the zombie film. It all starts off well up until the scenes where the story really takes a hold, up to which point has some decent moments of terror and atmosphere. It opens with a car driving through said backwoods. A man stops off at a roadside convenience store, when the shopkeeper says to the man, recognising the crazy in his eyes that he is off to Devil’s Den and warns him of the evil there, which will end up ripping his body apart. When news comes on the background TV set of a wanted killer, the shopkeeper notices that the man in front of him is the wanted man by the police and he shoots the shopkeeper dead. He leaves with a map and his fear.

The wanted man stops and sees a dirt track to Devil’s Den and makes his way there when he stops at a rundown old house. He tentatively enters and notices a hole in the wall, peeps through when an ax comes through the wall. He is chased by a figure but steps on a nail that is run through his foot as he runs out, hides behind a tree when he is axed in the head. The figure, a teenage girl is scarred pale and deathly looking. She finds a blind boy tied up in the back of the car and in time they grow a bond as they help each other. What the boy doesn’t realise is that his new friend is an undead girl that has crawled out of the grave after being raped and murdered by her stepfather some time ago.

In the 2013 teen zombie movie Warm Bodies, set years after a zombie apocalypse, a young man wanders around looking for flesh to eat. He eventually comes across a living girl looking for medical supplies and the pair, the living girl and undead boy fall in love. Whereas Warm Bodies was a lighthearted horror twist on the zombie cycle, The Dark goes for the element of horror while developing the youthful relationship between Mina and Alex. One of the problems with the film is the amount of unanswered plot holes. As the story develops what happened to Mina and how she wound up dead is slowly revealed. What is also revealed is Mina killing her mother in a rage of pique but we never see anything happen to the wicked stepfather. How she is able to be back from the dead is also not revealed.

Other than her appearance and deathly palour we could be forgiven for thinking that she is not dead after all, other than that she can’t eat food and an attempt at some cheerios cause her to barf. But she is able to run and climb trees and has a highly functioning brain. Not that any diversion of George A. Romero’s model of shambling, groaning or brain dead flesh eaters is blasphemy as Lucio Fulci’s Italian zombie films have shown us a different direction for zombies, whereas those in World War Z (2013) seemed over the top in their speed of infection and running. Warm Bodies has shown that there is new life for the zombie sub-genre.

Chris Hick

Chris Hick