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DARK COUNTRY
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Reviewed by: Mike Catalano

Directed by: Thomas Jane

Starring:
Thomas Jane
Lauren German
Ron Perlman

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
A newlywed couple leaving Las Vegas finds their luck quickly running out upon getting stuck on one dark stretch of desert highway alongside one bloody-faced body.
Is it good movie?
I just want to make one thing very clear at the start of this review: Thomas Jane is by far one of the coolest cats in the biz. If you don't believe me, then just check out his guest appearance on Mr. Ammon's Arrow in the Head Podcast here. With that said, let's now jump into Mr. Jane's first foray into directing...

To instantly up the flick's "cool quotient", Jane pulls double duty and stars in the thing as well. He plays a sort of "drifter"-type character who's just gotten hitched in Vegas to a blackjack dealer (the absolutely gorgeous Lauren German). You could tell that Jane was also very keen on his female lead's attributes because he makes excellent use of the camera while conveying sumptuous shots of her smooth, supple skin. This proved to me that Jane definitely has a knack for directing. He truly created his own unique "canvas" for showing us the story of DARK COUNTRY. His use of colors and lighting were outstanding and really enhanced the whole noirish vibe he was going for.

Another excellent aspect that helped further feed the noir factor was the total trip of a score by composer Eric Lewis. At some points it was nice and snappy, and then it would completely switch gears to a couple of harsh booms once the scary settled in. Now, about the scares: this definitely wasn't the straight-forward slasher horror I was at first expecting. It's way more of a Twilight Zone type of tale with just a touch of cool gore added in for bloody good measure.

The brunt of the red stuff came constantly front and center with the flick's main antagonist, affectionately named "Bloodyface". Great name and great look! In terms of f*cked up facades, this dude takes the friggin' cake. Very weird, trippy shit! What pissed me off, though, was the major lack of screen time Mr. "Bloody" had. I would have preferred that the movie concentrate solely on the newlywed couple being terrorized by this massive headwound of a psycho.

I'm not saying the story we do get is complete crap. I was just damn into that bad guy! And about said story. It's a slow burn of a mystery that doesn't truly get crazy until perhaps the last ten or fifteen minutes when All Star, Ron Perlman, shows up on the scene as an old-time desert deputy. He owned what little screen time he had, for sure! I just wish that when the "big twist" was revealed, it had a few more details to help back it up. Did I mind the twist? Absolutely not. It just left a few too many unanswered questions for me to really get rocked by it.

Video / Audio
Video Widescreen 1.78:1

Audio English 5.1 Dolby Digital, with Spanish subtitles

The Extras
A Behind the Scenes featurette.

A really informative Commentary with Jane, screenwriter Tab Murphy, and producer Patrick Aiello. I really appreciated Mr. Jane's honest assessment of his film which included a fair share of actual criticisms of things that could have been better. This guy really knows his shit and was a delight to listen to.

Last Call
Cool performances and even cooler direction certainly helped enhance this film noir trapped in the Twilight Zone. It just needed a little more explanation and a lot more of "Bloodyface"!
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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