My Piece: Dark Was the Night (2014)

Dark Was the Night is an American horror thriller film directed and produced by Jack Heller, starring Kevin Durand. It was released on July 24th, 2015, but is listed as a 2014 film literally everywhere, so I’m not changing the thumbnail.

The premise of Dark Was the Night is that the sheriff of a small town is constantly, constantly struggling with the death of one of his children while some kind of creature begins to terrorize the local fauna, crippling the town’s livelihood.

Dark Was the Night is a criminally cheap and uninteresting film. From the considerably unsaturated opening scene, to an absolutely abysmal conclusion, the movie is simply amateur at nearly every turn.

The cinematography is decent enough, with the worst of it being completely neutral without distraction and the best of it being professional-ish. There aren’t any money shots to be found, so to speak, but of the many shitty clips that are present during the runtime of the film, I chalk up the poor quality to the direction and the process of editing rather than the work of the cinematographer.

The production is mostly acceptable. The town is set up well enough, the video and audio quality are perfectly adequate. The special effects are tremendously underwhelming, however, with the creature’s presentation being extremely dated for a mid-2010s film. Especially in contrast to the otherwise quite admissible facets of production.

The performances vary from somewhat mediocre to completely neutral; Nothing better is delivered and nothing worse either. I actually like Kevin Durand’s work where I’ve seen it, he was pleasant in Legion (2010) and in Lost (2004). However, his sheriff character in this film is terribly stale and empty. A broody lawman who speaks only in low, gravelly sentences that I’m unsure I would be able to understand without subtitles, in all honesty.

Which brings me to the most offensive component, and always the most important; The writing. The script for Dark Was the Night is exceedingly poor, swollen with clichés atop the already rampant horror sound cues and accompanying jumpscares. The dialogue is constantly cheap and old hat, completely unnatural in most cases and overrun with some of the most ham-fisted exposition I’ve encountered in cinema.

You could genuinely make a drinking game for shots of Kevin Durand looking sad and trying to keep himself together, and references to the fact that his son died in an accident. Every single character in the film acknowledges it, I believe, and I truly mean it when I say that the majority of this film is dedicated to the character of the sheriff grieving his lost child. At least two thirds of the runtime are in some way related to his gratuitously established grief, and while I’d rather have characters with character, I found it fucking annoying to be literally bombarded with reminders of his dead child in nearly every scene.

Beyond that, the film just falls short more often than not. Pacing is shabby, direction is shallow, characters are completely unrealistic caricatures and many performances are overacted, it’s just too low in quality in almost every respect. The film isn’t necessarily and wholly offensive, but I’d advise anyone remotely interested to steer clear. Your mood won’t be ruined, but your time will be wasted. Dark Was the Night serves best as a DVD never meant to leave its case, but instead to sit on your shelf just to keep it full.

But that’s just My Piece.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s