ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Dark Places (2015)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Gilles Paquet-Brenner

Starring:
Charlize Theron/Libby Day
Nicholas Hoult/Lyle Wirth
Christina Hendricks/Patty Day
Chloë Grace Moretz/Young Diondra
5 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
In 1985 Libby Day’s (Charlize Theron) family was murdered and her brother (Corey Stoll) was blamed for it. 30 years later, prompted by a “murder club” aka geeks obsessed with real murders, Libby starts looking at the facts again and shit doesn’t add up. Was her brother truly the killer? Tum, tum, tum!
THE LOWDOWN

DARK PLACES (WATCH IT HERE) stars the sexy and talented Charlize Theron and was based on a novel by Gillian Flynn who was also behind the GONE GIRL book which David Fincher adapted oh so well. Those two elements were enough for me to be interested in catching this one. I kept waiting and waiting and waiting for it to come out, didn't spot it and forgot all about it. I recently remembered the film though and looked it up, only to realize that it’s now on BLU-RAY and on INSTANT VIDEO. The and f*ck? When did that happen!? Talk about a low-key release! Anyways, I clocked it - my thoughts!

Now I can’t comment on the book this movie was based on as I never read it, hence I will only be able to tackle this beast as an entity on its own. Well the good news was that DARK PLACES definitely kept my interest from beginning to end. It introduced me to a morose and “broken” lead character and then tossed her (and me) into a crazy ass investigation (am talking murders, drugs, sexual abuse, Satanism… this one was busy in terms of putting human ugliness on display) all in the name of solving a mass murder. The flick slyly kept going back and forth between the present and the past, giving me meat to chew on and advancing both storylines in tandem, while keeping the answers to the varied questions close to to the vest. Now that I think of it, the film basically acted as a whodunit and it played that game very well being that every 10 minutes a drastic turn would elbow drop and I would suspect somebody new to be the culprit. 

The cast on hand was top notch as well! Charlize Thereon gave a low key and gloomy show, Nicholas Hoult did fine with the little substance he was given to dive into, Christina Hendricks simply broke my heart as the mother who put it all on the line for her kids while Chloë Grace Moretz was mucho despicable as the sexy yet a little f*cking coo-coo teen gal. It should be noted that both Corey Stoll and Tye Sheridan aced the role of old and young Ben Day; making for the most fascinating and layered character of the film (in my useless opinion of course). So what stopped me from being bowled over? Well for starters I found the film’s overall visual style somewhat bland. If it wasn’t for some of the stylish flashbacks, this could have passed for a Lifetime movie. But that wasn’t this one's worse sin.

My biggest peeve was actually the last act of the picture. The WHY behind it all was fairly ludicrous, some things didn’t add up, Nicholas Hoult vanished from the movie for some reason (making his character somewhat trivial in terms of the whole) and worse of all the flick rushed through its conclusion, glazing over everything and tying a nice little bow around it as opposed to truly delving into the happenings. Moreover, this was one of those that the more I thought about it afterwards, the more the characters became unlikeable (when you truly think about their actions) and the more some things made no rational sense. For example: in light of what happened in the past why is Ben protecting “so and so” in the present? Me no comprende puto!  And why is "so and so" so young when he/she should be at least like 25 to 30 years old? Exactly.

Overall although DARK PLACES had me while I was tapping it, once all was said and done and I thought about it, it became denser and its holes much wider (insert "last date" joke here). Your move creeps!

GORE
We get some gun shot wounds, blood and disturbing acts of violence (poor cows). Not a gorefest but the film had its uneasy moments.
T & A
Nope! Charlize Theron is gorgeous though, even when wearing a trucker cap.
BOTTOM LINE
DARK PLACES had a tantalizing initial premise, wasn't scared to rub our faces in the dirt, had a top notch cast and the powerhouse performances that comes with that. Alas, even though it kept me engaged, most of the visuals were pretty stale, somer story elements/character moves made no logical sense, Nicholas Hoult's character had no arc and it was also the type of film that the more I thought about it afterwards, the more it crumbled (the WHY behind it all was ludicrous). But hey that's just me! I say it is worth at least ONE watch but you're not missing much if you skip it. Next in line please!
BULL'S EYE
Saw and Insidious alumni J. LaRose rocked that shit in a small role (adult Trey Teepano).

Gilles Paquet-Brenner also directed the low budget horror filmWalled In (2009) with Mischa Barton.

Charlize Theron and Nicholas Hoult also acted together in Mad Max Fury Road.
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