Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
What's it about
Alex and Penny are sick of the hectic city life and decide a move out to the country to raise their newborn child. But what they don't expect is the evil ghost of a girl who decides they want to snap up that child.
Is it good movie?
It isn't breaking any new ground, but the last "dark" movie I reviewed
was Dark Skies and I'm happy to report that this is far more enjoyable
than that particular film. To start off, director Paul Soter has
written some intelligent characters in our central couple, played by
Pell James and Johnathon Schaech who actually care about one another
and don't have the personalities of a cardboard box. I know that some
people don't always want to get invested in their characters, but this
one worked pretty well. Can't always want them to just get shredded.
Another thing to credit Dark Circles is that the flick actually takes
its time without dragging along and manages to be a good, slow burn. As
someone who knows a lot of new parents, there's enough horror in
watching this young couple come to terms with their new baby, as their
individuality slips away while they go through this transition period
in their lives. There's a big focus placed on the baby in this flick,
which many folks can relate to, coupled with a natural sense of
inadequacy that comes with having a newborn. If you want to cut my head
off, I can live with that. If you want to take after the hair on my
infant son's head? Well, then we're going to a new level of protective
instincts. And trust me, this baby really comes close to some nasty,
For some, just watching these people trying to sleep while the baby is
screeching away may be scary enough. These poor people have to start
wondering if they're going insane from lack of sleep, or if there's a
truly malevolent force at work. Things start going beyond the
hallucination point, but the viewer is kept guessing. This is all done
with a great visual panache, which can lead to some really memorable
moments. Kudos to director Soter for his innovative camera work which
truly captures the horror.
Take it as you will, whether you see it as a ghost story, or perhaps a
parental fable, the movie works on a couple different levels. Sure,
it's pretty straightforward and not exactly a gorefest (though there
are some decently nasty moments, especially near the start), but I was
invested in the characters and thought there were a good few creepy,
scary moments. Smart directing, well-written characters and a decent
premise- I'm down!
Video / Audio
Video: 2.40:1 widescreen, looks decent,
nothing overly special but totally passable.
Audio is presented in Dolby 5.1, and is mixed well, though
the surround track tends to be a bit front-heavy.
There's a behind the scenes
featurette that runs about 7 minutes and features interviews
with the cast and crew. Lots of funny moments with the cast as they say
"I saw Paul Soter's name, so I figured it was a funny movie" (Paul
Soter is a member of the Broken Lizard comedy troupe, the gang that
gave us Super Troopers). Quality stuff. And we learn he's making more,
with one written and one in treatment mode! Let's hope they happen.
Soter also provides a quality commentary
track with actor Johnathon Schaech and blogger Ryan Turek. He's
intelligent, soft spoken, and loaded with great information and keeps
the whole thing on track. Really interesting listen.
Also you'll notice a few trailers for Husk,
Prowl, An American Haunting, and
promotional footage for FearNet
Dark Circles is a flat out well-made independent horror flick. It's
scary, well acted, and clearly made with love. Recommended!