THE DARK LURKING
Reviewed by: Zombie Boy
What's it about
A band of mercenaries infiltrate an underground research facility after a containment breach to rescue anyone still alive and stillÖhuman, in this monster shoot Ďem up from Down Under.
Is it good movie?
I didnít get this movie at all. There is an underground medical research facility apparently creating monsters, and against all odds (sarcasm) those monsters escape and start wreaking havoc. Okay, Iím on board with that. But then a group of mercenaries show up and start rounding up survivors. Except one bitches to the head merc about not wanting to risk his life for the people. And then later on when they meet a ranking doctor holed up in the facility, he calls in his own extraction. So if his people are going to come get him and kill everyone else, who the hell called in the mercenaries in the first place?
That is just the tip of the iceberg with this film. Nothing in it much makes sense, and there is never a sense of destination or perspective. The group simply moves from place to place, alternately blocking some doors and restoring power to others. The characters are the weakest excuses for cannon fodder Iíve seen for a long time, and the dialogue delivery and ADR are so bad I kept thinking I was watching an Italian film dubbed into English. They fire handguns, machine guns, and lob grenades, all in very tiny rooms without killing each other with shrapnel, going deaf, or choking to death on the smoke.
A big pet peeve of mine is improper scene geography, and this movie is surreal like an MC Escher painting. The reverses are all skewed at angles making the supposed conversation between two characters impossible, and even one character looking back and forth down a hallway is so illogical it gave me a headache. The whole damned movie consists of three types of shots: whip pans, crash zooms, and inserts. Thatís it. In the making of doc I learned that the film was shot in two week chunks over 15 months, with several months between chunks. That explains it. They never had all the actors in the same room at the same time, and tried to fix it in the edit. And failed. Miserably.
I will say that the creatures - nicknamed the ďrabidsĒ on set - look pretty cool. Theyíre nice and gooey, and lots of time was spent getting the copious practical gore to look good. And even the gun play was done using live fire. Too bad that attention to detail didnít extend to the script or the direction. Just a classic example of how, contrary to what non-horror fans say about us horror fans, gore does not make up for the shortcomings of a film.
Video / Audio
Video: There are no specs on the video, but overall the picture is decent. The colors gray out here and there, though, and there is one scene of what I have to assume was unintentional slo-mo.
Audio: About the same on the audio. No specs, but the mix is decent. Bad ADR notwithstanding.
Behind the Scenes: This is actually a collection of vignettes, totaling about 24 minutes. They center mostly on the stunts, guns, and effects, which is good. All of that stuff was much more interesting than the film, and Iím damned glad I didnít have to sit through a commentary. Curiously, or maybe not so curiously, although the director is mentioned, he does not do an interview here. Nor the screenwriter. Assuming there was one, which I am not so sure about.
Netherworld: This is a 15 minute short by TDL director Greg Connors, also starring TDL star Bret Kennedy. It is about archangel Gabriel being asked to throw a PPV fight with a demon by God, refusing, and being hired by the Devil instead. Bizarre, but at least it was short.
Trailer: I sat through the movie; I wasnít about to watch this.
There are also two photo slideshows: one for stills and promo shots from TDL, and one for the covers of a few dozen titles also available from Cinema Epoch.
I know that this film was done on a low budget, and I try to champion the guerrilla efforts whenever I can, but god this one sucks. The script is weak, the actors mostly terrible, and the editing poor at best. The creatures look good and the gore is tight, but you cannot hang a 96 minute skeleton on that and call it a day. My suggestion would be to watch an Event Horizon/Aliens double feature and leave The Dark Lurking on the shelf, where it belongs.