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Several years ago, a sleepy Pacific Northwest town was terrorized by a skull-faced maniac with a thirst for blood. It seemed no man, woman or child was safe from the North Bend Reaper, a crafty serial killer who became infamous for stealing patches of clothing from his bloodied victims. Despite a massive manhunt, the Reaper was never found. Fast forward to the present - a group of actors try to cash in on the town's notoriety by hosting an interactive murder mystery party based on the unsolved killings. After isolating their guests at an abandoned summer camp, they come to the terrifying conclusion that someone in their midst is killing them off one by one. Has someone chosen to continue the North Bend Reaper's bloody legacy? Or has the Reaper himself come back for one last dance with death? Written by
The character of "Dreighton" the host of the murder mystery game had originally been written as an African American. He was described as an over the top "voodoo priest" with a skull painted on his face. After seeing several actors for the part the filmmakers were not happy with their choices. Something was missing. When Benjamin Gutknecht (Benjamin G Arthur) came in to read for the part of "Andrew" they soon realized his commanding presence and large stature would suit the "Dreighton" character better. Soon as he was cast the screenplay was re-tooled and the make up re-designed as an homage to "Alice Cooper/KISS". The Dreighton make up and costume took an hour each day to apply. He wears the make up for 70% of the movie. Director Dan Zachary's younger sister Angie Zachary plays the role of "Lisa" the naive goody two shoes camper. Dan also appears as one of the redneck's chasing the reaper through the woods in a flashback sequence. He can also be heard as the operator on the cell phone in the woods and as the radio announcer at the end of the film. Co-producer and co-writer John Knox plays "James" the perverted creep of the group. See more »
One of the better indie horror films of the past few years.
I try to not use spoilers, but I use the warning just in case. My apologies if there is anything that ruins it for you.
To see this film get such a horrible score is rather shocking. Darkest Hour is perhaps one of the best independently made, low budget horror films you could find in the past few years. Sure, some come out of the gate with much hype built in, only to disappoint through poor acting and/or production quality, or, in the case of one film prime for an example, the movie Automaton Transfusion, with it's post-edited shaky cam effect that clearly came standard with the editing software used to compile the necessary scenes.
Going into this with the understanding that it is a low budget film definitely helps out in accepting the fact that it's a b-movie slasher that holds a Scream feel. While both of these films cannot be compared outside of the stabbing and somewhat similar costumes, both of these films had brilliant concepts. As far as Darkest Hour goes, the concept is simple, but rarely used: Put the killer in a "solve the murder" weekend getaway. This means that nobody knows they're going to die, even if they expect it.
While some of the writing was rather poor, with very little being said that would be remembered, outside of such one liners as "I'll give you five across the face and a foot in the ***". Some may say the acting was bad, but you cannot expect a-list celebrity acting from an indie film. Some of the acting was pretty good, actually. Tibor was very reminiscent of an old friend, and the "host" of the party played his roll very well, as well as a few other key note people.
Aside the typical, the only real draw back to the film was that the writers and producers didn't really push the concept. Think about it. Here we have a group of people who paid for a real life scare to win money, a chance to be part of a dinner theater-esquire murder mystery in the woods. You have the drug use, the alcoholism, and sex, which surprisingly there was very little of. But really, the lack of sex does absolutely nothing to tarnish the film. Instead, what tarnishes it is the lack of brutality. Here we have a killer, with all these fresh, nimble teenagers just ready to be stabbed, and the worst that you see is perhaps a few stabs here and there, a little fake blood, and perhaps the body will be dragged by the hair. If they only expanded on the violence, this could have been another cult hit like Sleepaway Camp. Dismemberment, gore, postmortem rape, anything twisted that a killer would ever possibly think of, and nobody would be the wiser...
And, gasp, it actually has an ending! Well, somewhat. While it doesn't truly tie up all the loose ends, it has one hell of climactic shoot out that will either leaving you screaming for that person to die and be happy, or be rather aggravated that you saw it coming a mile away. But, pay close attention to the beginning of the film, and you will realize exactly what is going on. If you miss it, then you clearly are blind, but won't be left out in the dark as it is referenced again at the end of the movie.
All in all, the film is pretty good. It's definitely not a blockbuster, but it could have held its own fairly well in the box office. The writers had a good idea, and ran with it, giving the killer free reign over his victims without them even knowing a thing, thinking it's all part of the game and becoming willing contestants to their own homicide. Though it's not graphic, and only slightly violent, it's still one of the better indie releases in the past few years and worth at least one run through.
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