Above Average, ‘Devil in the Dark’ is Measured, Creepy and Atmospheric (Review)
Directed by: Tim Brown
Cast: Dan Payne, Robin Dunne, Briana Buckmaster
Tim Brown returns to the director’s chair after a 10-year absence. Why he’s spent so much time away from the filmmaking process is unknown to me, especially given the fact that the man’s a fine director. He gives us wide, crisp shots of lush green landscape; his aerial shots are nothing short of stunning. And when it comes time to introduce the frights he approaches the terror in controlled fashion. We don’t even get a good look at the pic’s antagonist until the final moments of the film, and even those shots are extremely brief.
Now some may find that fact bothersome, but I’m not one to rest on that side of the fence. The ambiguity of the flick adds intrigue and a strange charm. It seems these days directors decide they absolutely must pull through with an uplifting finale, or an over the top, explosive finale. Brown avoids both of those clichés and gives us a grim close with a mystery left to be interpreted by each single viewer.
A move like that takes a pair, and Tim’s got ‘em.
The story reunites two estranged brothers. Their father has passed away and the older of the two, Clint, has been left virtually everything. He was always daddy’s favorite (this is actually vocalized – basically – in flashback scenes that feature their father), and that of course leaves Adam feeling a little sour, and holding a bit of a grudge. But they get together for a little hunting and camping hoping to enjoy a decent time, two brothers bonding.
But there’s no safety in the woods… don’t these guys watch horror movies?!
It isn’t long before these brothers are on a mission for survival. They are no longer the hunters, they’ve become the hunted. But what in the world is it that lurks in the dense forest, completely undetectable? Better yet, can they make it back to civilization in one piece?
A well-acted, intimate film that lets the scares fall in the background, Devil in the Dark works surprisingly well as a familial piece with study points split down the center: all eyes are on Clint and Adam, and we’re left to formulate opinions of two radically different men. When the action does jump to motion, it’s fun and creepy. It would have been nice to see a few more minutes of terror tacked onto the finale, but I wasn’t left feeling disappointed, so a slightly truncated climax doesn’t do too much to alter my opinion of the film.
The movie is enjoyable. It’s not particularly terrifying, but there are some strong visuals that command respect, a couple solid performances and some excellent atmosphere down home stretch. Devil in the Dark definitely earns a recommendation from us!
Leave a Reply