2005
Rated: R for graphic violence, and graphic language.
Genre: Supernatural Thriller Drama
Directed By: John Fawcett
Running Time: 1:33
Review by: Felix Vasquez Jr.
Review Date: 10/22/07
Special Features:
Alternate ending
THE DARK

 

So, we have a troubled mother, her disgruntled daughter, they’re vacationing at a new house out in the middle of nowhere in a countryside, there’s a mysterious man who hangs around the family pointing plot devices out for the audience, there’s the allusion of a mental breakdown from one of these characters, a fractured home, and of course the big old house that creaks, groans and moans at every step with a violent history, not to mention weird dream sequences, and a ghostly little girl. And just when I think they can’t have any more ghost movie clichés, there’s also a dog the little girl owns and likely will catch on to these mysterious events before anyone else does. “The Dark” has a lot of talent behind it, but as far as movies go, it’s just more of the same supernatural haunted house retreads we’ve seen a million times over. “The Dark” has no potential from the get go as it’s simply material I’ve been over before and hoped never to revisit, but we do, and in the most melodramatic ways.

I’m still not sure if this whole family divorce drama was intended as foreshadowing or just padding but we know something dark has entered once the bad dreams start, and yet no one else here really figures it out. If that’s not enough, we also get awful performances from the whole lot. Maria Bello is at her absolute worst here, giving an over the top emotional performance chewing up every bit of scenery.  

Writer Massicotte pulls us in all directions with this character as at some points he asks us to hate her for being such a short tempered abusive mother, and then wants us to sympathize for her when her daughter favors her father over her. Bello just mugs around brooding and gasping at every supernatural moment, and bawls on the drop of a dime. And then there’s Sean Bean who sadly will always go under used. Here he’s only really active as a plot device and catalyst to allow the tragedy to ensue for the introduction of the central plot, and then just fades into the background as a minor character for the sake of allowing Bello to take the reins as the actual main character.

Is Adelle just losing her mind after the film’s tragic twist, or is there something more sinister at play? Who is this “he” this ghostly figure keeps talking about? Haven’t we been down this road before? It sure looks familiar. “The Dark” seemed very familiar mostly since I realized it stemmed heavily from “Silent Hill,” another movie about a mom looking for her daughter in a mysterious world, and in spite of the quality made much more sense than this. Once the second half is ushered in shifting in tone, with the climax unfolding slowly, it was just all so incredibly nonsensical. What was the whole meaning behind the daughter’s words to her father? What did it all mean? I didn’t bother to pontificate it and personally “The Dark” didn’t provide enough quality to get me to investigate. I simply moved on to another movie.

What a treat, a film so mediocre and rehashed that it serves up a horrible performance from Maria Bello, Sean Bean is misused yet again, the clichés and plot devices are all so old hate, and the concept is so confusing and nonsensical. Move on to something a little more original, folks.

 

 

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