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|Index||93 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"My whole situation reeks of cliché." I knew I was in for trouble when
that line was uttered early in the film.
I've been around for the start of this kind of genre way back in the 1970s. I've seen 'em all. Granted, it takes a lot for me to be scared, and basically it takes a bit of originality to do that these days. Call me jaded if you like. But when a film like Dark Ride comes along with no regard for originality or even any attempt to really be good, it just makes me angry. When I'm not impressed by a film, I usually just don't comment here. But when I feel insulted, I feel I have to speak up.
Expendable "college-age" pretty teens with problems sums up the cast, and as for the plot? There was not even an attempt to try something new. You've seen it dozens of times before, and even those other ones weren't that good. Teens with the typical cliché personalities go on the road to spring break, and stop by an old amusement park to stay the night at the dark ride there. Just happens to be the same night a psychopath from a mental institution shows up, seems he used to live in that dark ride years ago. Arguments, pot smoking, sex, look-at-my-boobs, and lots and lots of running around and around (like the cast of Scooby Doo trapped in a warehouse/castle/candy factory/etc.) The company that put together this film, My2Centences (though backed by Lions Gate), must have only put 2 cents into this project. Remember how the "ride" was supposed to have cars on tracks? Um, did anyone actually see any tracks when the teens were roaming around, going in all kinds of directions, rooms, etc? Though in the prologue the car seemed to have a direct route, some overhead shots showed fog trying to hide that there were really no tracks. Even though Bill warned a gal to watch out for the tracks (much later, at that), you could clearly see on the floor there weren't any, and while they went into other rooms there was no logic to the place, no real directional way that the tracks would be able to take a car around in them. There were plenty of shots of things hanging and dropping down, dummies popping up nowhere near where the ride would have been going....you get the idea. It was a set that was a bunch of walls, halls, and stairs that didn't have any use. Lots of fog too to make the set look more busy. While Jim (dufus guy) was in the basement trying to fix the power later, there was no reason electrically powered dummies and items would be there in the first place. Oh, yeah, actually just for the camera to show a close-up of to fill in time and "scares."
Surprises? None to speak of. When Bill ran off and was never seen again until the end, how could any viewer not be suspicious? Reminded me of Farley Granger disappearing early in The Prowler (1981) and even when a character in Scream 2 was just NOT there for 2/3 of the film and shows up again near the end.
Some that have praised Dark Ride (one person on here actually calling it a modern masterpiece!) go on about it being an homage to those 70s and 80s slasher flicks, including The Funhouse (which didn't scare me when I saw its initial run in theatres in 1981). Honoring other films that are supposed to be classics is one thing, but just taking elements from them to slop together a new film with no real care for its own personality is quite another. I could just imagine the folks responsible for Dark Ride saying "give the kids what they usually will go for: violence, gore, pot smoking, and boobs (well, usually ignoring what the gals would want to see nudity-wise). They'll easily be distracted by those things and probably won't notice there's not much else going for this." Frankly, I'm surprised I didn't hear the word DUDE throughout the film.
I like that the After Dark horrorfest opted for indie projects in 2006 (even if it was more economical), and some had real merit to them, particularly Unrest, Reincarnated, The Abandoned, and The Hamiltons (Penny Dreadful was fun enough, just padded though with extra victims). Dark Ride was the worst of the lot for me. I can forgive a film for being bad if they actually TRIED to do something creative, but Dark Ride was a clichéd, tired, and tedious disposable project. I have a suspicion that Lions Gate would have originally just released this as a DTV title, but since they were going to be involved releasing the After Dark titles, they forced Dark Ride into the bunch (notice how "A Lions Gate Film" was on the beginning of the credits, while basically the other After Dark titles didn't). They should not have touted that these films were too much or "too graphic" for most audiences -- if that were the case then these would all be NC-17. I don't listen to hype, and went into these films on my own, finding some worthy of being very creative and some just plain wastes of time (like The Gravedancers and Wicked Little Things being no more than "Sci-Fi Channel productions" that you'd watch on a Saturday night).
You win some, you lose some. Dark Ride showed that someone paid a lot of people to do a project that just doesn't show any kind of care was put into it: 'just get it done and chuck it out to the kids.'
I was extremely excited to see this movie (it was my most anticipated of the Horrorfest lineup) and I'm not too sure what I'm thinking about it at the moment. The plot was very basic and reminded me a lot of your average 80's slasher flicks, but theses are the films I grew up watching, so that's a huge plus. The dialog was far from perfect, but there actually were a few intentionally funny bits that had me and the rest of the theater cracking up. The acting wasn't too awful, but the character of Liz pretty much annoyed the hell out of me the entire time she was on screen. Actually, most of the characters were rude asses and I didn't really care if any of them were going to live or die. The stoner characters were by far the most amusing, though. There were a few scenes of decent gore including a very original beheading that I didn't see coming, and a few scenes built up decent tension and suspense. I also enjoyed the cinematography for the most part. It was very stylized and gave the film it's own unique feel even if the plot and circumstances were clichéd to the max. Also, the killer was very imposing and the mask he wore was really sweet. On the down side, the ending felt incomplete and the unnecessary "twist" was not surprising at all. Almost all of the suspense scenes didn't go anywhere as the killer like to toy with his victims too much and let them get away just in time. This got a little frustrating after a while and I just wanted to see some freakin' action already! Overall, Dark Ride was a much slower paced movie that the preview made it seem, the characters did all of the stupid things that you would expect them to, there was gratuitous nudity and blood (in a few parts) and the killer and setting were very creepy. It was a fun movie, but not one that I would rush out to see by any means of the imagination. I'd give it an above average 6.5/10.
Movie starts out in 1989 New Jersey. Two twin girls are murdered in a
carnival ride called "Dark Ride"--a trip through various horror scenes.
The killer is caught and sentenced to life imprisonment and the ride is
closed down. Almost 20 years later a bunch of college kids decide (for
no good reason) to break into the closed ride one night. And (wouldn't
you know it?) the killer breaks out of his institution he's in. Three
guesses where he goes.
This movie is positively insulting to any horror movie fan. The plot has been done to death and ALL the characters are by the numbers--there's the hot guy (Steve), the stoner (Jim), the movie quoting nerd (Bill), the hot blonde (Liz) and the hot brainy brunette (Cathy). They also pick up a blonde hitchhiker (Jen) who, for no reason other than to pad the running time, gives out a looonnngggg stupid monologue. Once these idiots get into the ride it just turns into a formula yawn-inducing mess with the killer stalking and killing them. Also there are these long sequences with these morons stumbling through the ride. They're not needed--they just eat up time. Really--this was done to death in the 1980s. Do we need a rehash of it? There's also a pointless nude scene which was so obviously and stupidly shoved in that I felt sorry for the actress. The gore scenes had plenty of blood but were incredibly faked.
Acting varies. David Rogers is terrible as Steve and Alex Solovitz as Jim wasn't much better (although he does try--Rogers doesn't). Renna is just OK as Bill and Andrea Bogart is WAY over the top as Jen. Her constant screaming and over acting got on my nerves fast. The only good acting was by Jamie-Lynn DiScala as Cathy. There is also a very good score and some cute directorial touches. But--all in all--this is a slow, boring horror film that you've seen hundreds of time before--only better. I fast-forwarded through a good portion of this. Skip it.
It starts out with two young girls being brutally murdered by a psychopath that lives inside an amusement park attraction call "Dark Ride". After being incarcerated for over a decade, the killer escapes from the mental hospital and takes refuge inside the now abandoned Dark Ride. Meanwhile, a group of college students on Spring Break decide to spend the night inside the abandoned amusement park ride for thrills, and to save money rather than spend it in a hotel. This is where they start getting knocked off one by one by the killer who now wears a childlike mask to conceal his facial deformity. I thought this was a decent flick. The writing was not great, but there was some great jokes within the film itself. There is a great kill scene that involves decapitation and oral sex. It was good stuff. I'll definitely be looking for this on DVD. There was also some recognizable actors within this film like Jamie-Lynn Di Scala (The Sopranos), and Patrick Renna (The Sandlot). The only problem I had with this movie was the ending. I think it tried too hard to have a twist ending like the Saw films, but it was worth the 1hr 50 min of my time.
After watching this film, I can see that the director borrowed elements of Halloween, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Tobe Hooper's : The Funhouse, which there was a number of similarities between The Funhouse and Dark Ride range from teenagers spending the night within the attraction to being hunted down by a deformed killer to the creepy puppets and horror props that create the eerie ambiance of the films.
Part of the popular After Dark Horror Film Festival (which included the
remarkable horror film, "The Abandoned" among seven others), "Dark
Ride" is a weirdly entertaining little slasher film heavily reminiscent
of Tobe Hooper's "The Funhouse". The story follows a group of college
friends who decide to go on a trip during spring break. While driving
through New Jersey late one night, they have a bizarre encounter at a
gas station, and later pick up a ditsy hitchhiker with a good stash of
drugs. The kids decide to stop at an amusement park to check out the
"dark ride", a horror ride that was closed down for years after two
twin sisters were murdered there in 1989. The murderer is now
institutionalized, but for these unlucky teenagers, he has escaped
within the past two weeks. As they enter the ride and decide to spend
some time messing around in there with all of the scary props and
whatnot, they aren't aware of the real horrors that await them.
While this film was very obviously inspired by Tobe Hooper's slasher film, "The Funhouse", it honestly is nowhere near as good. But would one expect it to be any better? Nah, I don't think so. Besides this, "Dark Ride" is still an enjoyable little blood-soaked horror flick. The plot is beyond derivative, and the script is pretty jammed full with typical horror set-ups and clichés - we've seen it all before, plenty of times. Not much originality here, but oh well. While the story does lack any uniqueness or originality, it makes up for it with some good thrills and a full plate of some cheap (but clever) scares and violence. It's a pretty gory film, but I think that's what it was going for anyway so it works. We have plenty of gruesome stabbings, slashings, head-splittings, and a grossly clever decapitation that could likely become of cult status (I won't explain, you'll know it when you see it for sure). The sets inside the horror ride were really nicely done, and appropriately spooky. Amusement rides like that have an eerie thing about them anyway, so I love the setting.
The acting in the film is so-so. Jamie Lynn-DiSalca (of TV's "The Sopranos") is the heroine, and is just alright - not anything mind blowing, but passable enough with her performance. The male stars are actually the better actors in the film though, I'm sure some of you will recognize Patrick Renna of the '90s Disney film, "The Big Green", I knew I'd seen that face before. The rest of the cast isn't bad, but the performances were overall no more than average (if not a little below). When considering what type of movie this is though, the acting quality is almost irrelevant. The killer in the film is creepy, not because of his physical deformity, but more so because of his child-like porcelain mask that he wears throughout the film. I thought the 'twist' in the end was actually pretty good, it came totally out of nowhere for me, so I have to give that some credit because the writing there was pretty good.
Overall, "Dark Ride" is an enjoyable little slasher fest that isn't much more than that. It's formulaic, clichéd, and predictable in quite a few ways. But it still manages to be entertaining and fun aside from it's downfalls. Hardened horror buffs will know exactly what to expect, and will feel like they've seen it a hundred times. But if you enjoy a good old corny slasher flick, this weird little throwback to '80s style splatter pictures might be an enjoyable find. It isn't a great movie by any means, but I have to give it a half-and-half rating at least because it was pretty entertaining for what it was. 5/10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Horror fans -- do NOT believe the hype and false reviews of this movie.
I enjoy horror indies. I enjoy campy horror. Campy can be great fun. This is not camp, this is CRAP.
Despite knowing that Jamie-Lynn can act under some circumstances, this movie has to have the worst acting I've seen this year. The actors have no screen presence, their fear is totally unconvincing, and they are only funny unintentionally.
A fan of campy horror can probably suffer through the distractingly horrid acting, but the worst sin this movie commits is that it doesn't even allow itself to be cliché. Where's the maniac-cam? Where is the beautiful, terrified, but somehow impressively heroic female lead? How about some nudity (the one sexual scene is offensively stupid)? How about having at least one likable character so we, as the audience, can care at all about what happens?
This movie was created by filming 70 minutes of fun house ghouls and fog plus 10 minutes of reality-show-quality acting plus 10 minutes of idiotic plot development.
This movie wouldn't be worth watching for free. It's so bad that it shouldn't just go straight to video; it should go straight to the garbage.
In 1989, in New Jersey, two sisters are killed in a ghost train in the
greatest attraction of the Asbury Park, the Dark Ride. The police
arrest the serial killer that is sentenced to life in a mental
institution; finds fourteen other bodies hidden in the spot and the
justice shuts-down the attraction. Fourteen years later, a group of
five friends and a hitchhiker decides to visit the amusement park that
is offering free lodging in its reopening. Meanwhile, the psychopath
escapes from the asylum and while the group is inside the Dark Ride,
they are chased and killed by the murderer.
The slasher "Dark Ride" is a boring collection of clichés. Whatever the viewer may expect in a B-movie of the genre, he or she will find in this flick: bad acting, poor screenplay and budget, breasts, screams, the victims splitting from the group and killed one by one, "unexpected" twist etc. In the end, watching this flick is a pure waste of time. My vote is three.
Title (Brazil): "Trem Fantasma" ("Ghost Train")
Absolutely wretched. Horrid acting, terrible story, unforgivable
lighting, and not one of the victims was remotely likable. The villain
was absent and undeveloped for so much of the movie one could not even
even cheer for *him*!
The (so-called) story is about a bunch of (frighteningly aged) teenagers, who head out for a Spring Break vacation. They head out in an awesome van, run into a crazy old eccentric, and even pick up a crazy hitchhiker, before deciding to stay the night in a legendary 'Dark Ride', which is now being re-opened despite the fact that some nutjob murdered sixteen people there not even twenty years ago. Said nutjob escaped the loony-bin (complete with flickering lights and sadistic, stupid nurses)that very night! Unless you are as vapid, shallow, and stereotyped as the cast, you'll lack the ability to emphasize with any of them, instead praying for supposedly teen-aged souls to be snuffed out in horrible ways. Whomever conceived this abortion lacked the ability to create suspense, though, and instead you are simply bored to tears waiting for some sort of blood, mayhem, and pain. Please, hurt these people. Please. I can't.
"Each year, movies are produced which are never seen by the public..." Proclaims the Horrorfest ads. Yeah. For a reason. This cliché-ridden mess should never have received wide theatrical release, and instead lingered in the forgotten bargain bin of Wal-Mart.
Dark Ride was exactly what it is suppose to be.. A throw back to the 80 horror movie of college age kids being killed and then the surprise twist ending.. It was not the greatest movie but I enjoyed it due to all the memories it brought back, from Funhouse (which it is almost a copy) to the burning, Friday the 13th, sleepaway camp, etc etc.. Acting was OK, and the premise was OK as well, How ever, premise is many years ago, two kids get killed, now years later, the killer escapes and this is when the kids decide to go and look at the ride.. Twist ending later, (its not bad but didn't quite explained how it just ended up that happen at that time, but all in all it was not a bad movie.. Compare to most of the movies of horror filmfest, this was actually one of the better ones..
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Okay, by now we all know that the whole "Horrorfest 8 Films To Die For"
thing was a shameless ploy. They tried to get people to pay to see
movies that, in their words, were "too terrifying" for normal
audiences. The sad truth is that they were all mediocre horror films
that couldn't find distribution and weren't nearly good enough to
release on a wide scale. Apparently, some people did go to see them,
money was made and the gimmick was fun for the horror fanatics. Long
live William Castle.
But that was then. Now that they're on DVD, we can all rate and review them for what they are. I've just finished watching one of the eight, Dark Ride, and I have to say that I am astonished and amazed that this movie received ANY kind of release but not for the reason you might think. I didn't mind the dumb plot, the wretched acting, the stupidity of the characters and the retarded ending. I expect all of those things when watching a movie like this. It's part of the fun.
My amazement came from watching this and realizing very quickly that the people who made it have absolutely no idea how to shoot a movie. From a technical standpoint, it's an abomination. If you don't believe me, watch it and try to keep track of how many times shots go out of focus because the cameraman (or the director, who can say) has no idea what he's doing. Watch the scene at the gas station and count how many times the camera or the shadow of the camera creeps into the shot. I lost count. At one point, as Jamie-Lynn's character is wandering through the ride, she falls down...and the camera completely misses it. Here's some advice for the director: if you're going to make a movie, hire someone who can pull off the shots you want (by the way, Mr. Singer, you weren't fooling anyone with that awful cut you tried to pull off for the shot of the van's headlight). Most low-budget horror movies come off as amateurish but shoddy, careless film-making like this is inexcusable.
Look, I know that there are things that directors do to save time when shooting a low-budget film. One of them is to set the camera up in one spot and capture all of the action from one angle, zooming in to each actor so you can capture all of the coverage without a bunch of different set-ups. The dorm room scene in the beginning is a prime example of this (notice that we only see one side of the room) and so is the gas station scene (once they had the camera on the dolly, they obviously didn't have the time to do another set-up so everything in the parking lot is shot from the left). Why would this bother me, you ask? Because when a film gets ANY kind of theatrical release (even if it's only a week) and the distributor (especially a distributor as big as Lion's Gate) asks people to pay $9.00 to see it, I expect that film to adhere to a certain amount of professionalism. Calling this a professional film is like calling Adolf Hitler a sweetiepie. It just ain't true.
Just a couple of things on the DVD that I thought were hilarious. If you look on the back of the DVD box, you'll notice that the word "attraction" is spelled wrong (talk about inexcusable and amateurish) and just try not to laugh when, in the special features, one of the writers (the one with the man boobs) admits that it took him four months(!) to write the script.
Oh, and I've been around long enough to realize that most of the "great" reviews this movie has received on this site (A Classic! A Thrill Ride! Awesome! Old-School Horror At It(sic) Finest!!!) are all from people involved with the film or friends and family of the filmmakers. Guys, that is getting so old. It doesn't fool anybody anymore.
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