Dark Light follows a mother who tries to reclaim her innocence and her daughter after the daughter goes missing following a violent incident between the mother and father. Believing there is a supernatural or extraterrestrial force at work, the mother tries to prove the creatures assaulting her rural house are real while also confronting them to find her daughter.
Dark Light Review
What is there to say about arguably the worst movie I've seen this year? I hate to be so harsh, but Dark Light was difficult to get through. Considering that it looks like a decent budget was pushed around (relative to the low-budget horror industry), Dark Light is a failure of the promise that lies far beneath the surface. At its core, Dark Light had something going for it, but it's a very small core encased in a large derivative mantle, wrapped in a thick, disjointed, poorly executed mess of a crust.
Like certain movies I praise for having solid writing, acting, score and effects that work seamlessly to produce an engaging and entertaining film, Dark Light is the exact opposite of that. The acting is bland, the writing is worse, the effects (which deserve their own woeful paragraph) are unoriginal and cheesy, and the score is laughably off-kilter with what is happening scene to scene. The budget clearly didn't allow for anything beyond a generic stock action-sequence score when somebody is jogging through a corn field. I constantly felt out of place and disconnected from a film that lacked cohesion amidst each of its elements.
Now, the main reason I tried to tough it out for this movie was because of the promise of a monster. And normally I praise practical effects in any form they come in. But in this case, I just can't help but brush off this poor and unoriginal guy-in-a-suit method because it looked like somebody took the monster suit from Feast, cut a huge hole in the face and plugged a lightbulb into it. At its best it was a familiar look from recent memory and at its worst it's a poorly conceived derivative rubber suit take on the aliens from the Area 51 arcade shooter. And while its unoriginality outweighs my kudos for the practical effects attempt, none of its commendable qualities can make the rest of the film bearable.
Too much of the film feels like scraps leftover from the storyboarding for Signs. And while the fondness for said film has soured greatly over the years, imagine the garbage that wasn't good enough to make it into the film and you have an idea for the disjointed, clumsy, and sluggishly paced train wreck that is Dark Light. The lead does her best, but she plays opposite a cookie cutter ex-husband and a slightly gruffer version of the sheriff from Signs. It trips over itself as the plot drags when it's not skipping plot holes like stones across the pond of the script.
At least Signs utilized the "less is more" concept to perfection. Dark Light uses people with flashlights walking through corn fields and bedrooms as its aesthetic device before the big reveal of the creature. And while that may work amidst micro-budget films, it feels laughable on a set with decent cameras and even worse with its stock score thumping awkwardly to the march of people holding flashlights above their heads.
Something is missing in every phase of Dark Light and it made it difficult to fight my negative feelings while enduring it. I had higher expectations for it than I usually do for random films I watch because the production value seemed higher, but apparently the value was more like a spoiled rich kid getting to play with his parents' toys than a modest budget wisely being stretched. I need movie theaters to come back...
Horror Rating System
Horror Qualifier: 8/10
Horror Quality: 3/10 Film Quality: 2/10