Writer: Tyler Hisel
There’s no such thing as a perfect movie. Really, there’s no such thing as perfect. Only an ever ascending (or descending) culmination of potential. Which, when it’s all said and done, is pretty cool. So when I see a movie like “Dark Was The Night” I can’t help be reminded of that. Yeah, it’s got some problems, but it gets so much more right than what it gets wrong.
“Dark Was The Night” takes place in a rural little town in upstate New York. You can walk the entirety of town in an hour and every one knows each other on a first name basis. We follow a grieving shell of a man named Paul (Kevin Durand). He’s the town sheriff and one of his children was recently found dead. With permanently sunken eyes, Paul has moved away from his wife and other child to wallow. His day is mostly staring sadly off into the middle space and answering minor domestic disputes. Then one morning he finds tracks in his front yard…tracks that belong to no know species!
As it turns out, there’s a monster afoot and it’s eating folk’s pets and then the actual folks. Naturally, Paul doesn’t believe there’s a man eating monster lurking in the forest. Why the hell would there be? Well, after a few ambiguous run-ins and some good old fashion police work, Paul’s monster suspicion starts to swell.
The monster stuff is entertaining, but it’s actually window dressing for a character drama. Paul’s attempts to claw his way out of a guilt induced depression and rekindle a relationship with his wife and son is the actual story. So the best form of closure is defending his family against a big-scary man-eating forest monster.
That’s not very subtle.
No…no it’s not, but the movie kind of is.
Ugh…okay. Start your paragraph about character driven atmosphere.
FINE! I will!
Anyway, with most creature features we don’t see the monster until the very end of the movie. “Dark Was The Night” does the same, but I can’t help but wonder why. I’m assuming the delayed monster reveal was to focus more on the relationships and create a tense atmosphere. There’s also a strong possibility that their small budget restricted their monster’s authenticity (probably a combination of the two). It doesn’t look that great when you finally see the beast. I like to believe the former, but either decision was the right the decision. Hey, it worked for “Jaws.”
When it comes to the highlights of the film, the performances are really what stands out. When it comes to the actual monster, we don’t actually know that much. We get some speculation to what it is and why it’s there, but that’s about it. What we do get is incentives for every character. Kevin Durand’s Paul is way more flushed out and emotive than he has any right to be and he doesn’t deliver a line without the crushing guilt of his dead son behind it. Same goes with his partner Donny (Lucas Hall) and wife Susan (Bianca Kajlich). They both portray a grizzled pasts that helps pave their decisions in the future.
Anyway, as far as horror movies go…”Dark Was The Night” is about average, but as far as drama’s go, it’s fairly solid. It’s a well directed and acted drama that just so happens to have a monster in it. If you look at the movie under those circumstance, it’s well worth the watch. Here here “Dark Was The Night.” You’re a endearing piece of cinema.
- Weird title….what the hell else is the night going to do?
- I feel like the monster should have had fur.
- Nick Damici is amazing. He’s like the indie Bruce Campbell.
- I thought that was Steve Agee.