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|Index||40 reviews in total|
At least until you've seen it for yourself. A relatively small number
of people have voted on it, so its rating is up in the air. Anyway, I
found this movie to be very interesting. Here's what I have to say
about it. My summary is at the top and the longer explanation is at the
SHORT: Genuinely frightening and dark, as well as psychologically complex and chilling. If you can look past the non-linear plot and confusing pace of the film, then you will enjoy this addition to the horror movie genre. 6 out of 10.
LONG: This movie can be somewhat confusing and its direction takes a very schizophrenic approach to showing events in the movie. That can understandably be a turn off for some people, but the fact of the matter is that the direction is one of the elements that helps make Dark Corners a scary flick. From the get-go you have no idea if what the heroine is experiencing is real or imagined. The story follows the life of a woman who's trying to get pregnant; at night she has nightmares and cycles between her life and that of the woman in her dreams.
In the dark surrealistic world of her dreams, she sees people being violently murdered and is killed herself several times. The multiple cuts from fantasy to reality, as well as the camera angles help to unsettle the viewer and put them on edge, leaving them vulnerable to the movie's numerous scare scenes. And as much as they would cut from one scene to another, I never felt cheated or that it was over-done, because Karen's story with her pregnancy would always advance at an adequate pace. As for story, it cryptic all the way to the end, yet we are given small clues along the way. The ending itself is a little flat, yet creepy and appropriate.
The acting was awesome. I loved Karen's actress and that of her husband; they had great chemistry that made you want to watch their banter scenes. Supporting characters were okay. I felt their character parts were more of a draw than what the actual actors brought to the table.
Scares. This movie is genuinely scary! At times it is disgusting and disturbing, but does not have over-the-top gore. It doesn't rely on cheap jump-out scares too much, but instead relies on atmosphere and horrific situations. The two scenes in the mortuary were really what got me. You have to see them for yourself--classic, grade-A American horror. I was impressed.
So for its great scares, atmosphere, and good characters and acting, I give Dark Corners a 6 out of 10. Though the direction and pace of the film may be confusing and off-putting, the plot and story are there. This film is also more entertaining then a lot of other direct-to-DVD horror flicks that have more linear plots, yet look like they were made for the Sci-fi channel. *cough* Bottom Feeder *cough*
I too saw this film at the recent AFI festival in L.A. and thought it was absolutely amazing - an extremely original and enigmatic mind bender, it reminded me of a cross between Rosenary's Baby and Lost Highway. Having said that, I can see that this film is definitely a love it or hate it kind of deal. I actually went back for the second screening and felt that both audiences were generally extremely receptive (the people sitting either side of me gave it top marks) and were particular enthusiastic on the second day during the Q&A with director and Thora Birch. Personally, I would consider this an absolute must see.
I caught this movie several months ago, and it was only after happening
to come across it in my collection recently that I realized it was
really worth commenting on here. So here goes.
Firstly, my brief take on the plot: Karen Clarke lives in a city where dark and horrifying things exist just beyond the edge of her vision. Susan Hamilton is a happily married woman suffering from recurring nightmares. Each considers the other to be the person they become in their dreams. So who is real? Now, this is not one of those "are you sure this is low-budget?" productions. There are numerous qualities about this film which make it very clear to the viewer that we are, in fact, in the land of independent financing, ranging from certain scenes shot like they're using 1950s camera equipment to the typical "small roles filled by people with all the emotions of a cardboard box" syndrome. This even extends to one of the more significant minor roles, an older blond woman whose acting ability alternates between competent and "Plan 9 From Outer Space" depending on the scene.
With that said, there's still something to this film. It takes a bit to get going, with the first 30-40 minutes leaving the viewer with a lot of puzzle pieces and very few ways to connect them, but the pieces themselves are reasonably interesting. Once we hit the halfway mark, however, things begin to connect a bit more. Most of it is executed well, leaving the viewer feeling neither confused nor as though they've been led by the nose. A few times, however, clues are all but identified with bright neon signs, particularly a seemingly pointless conversation which suddenly draws attention to itself with a rather unorthodox camera pan. The presentation otherwise is excellent, with many of the scenes set in the "dark" city just about oozing a sense of corruption and decay. Much of the content is surprisingly robust as well, with a lot of allegory and outright symbolism present throughout. (Though the significance of it all isn't truly clear until the end of the film) While the smaller roles are filled with the typical low-budget riff-raff, the principals all do an excellent job in this film. Thora Birch is entertaining to watch and, as always, you can sympathize with her character(s) almost instantly. Toby Stephens gives a short, interesting, and dark performance which is perfect for the film, and in a pleasant surprise Alan Perrin makes a highly intriguing detective in both "sides" of the narrative.
However, the real winning part of this film is the final reveal, the "twist" if you will. While it isn't what I would call exactly genius, it's still pretty clever; even the most observant of viewers will at best be able to determine part of the twist, but not all. More importantly, the reveal is both creepy and satisfying, albeit in a Schadenfreude-y kind of way. It's a worthy payoff for 90 minutes of invested time.
BOTTOM LINE: It's not really award worthy and it's certainly not perfect, but it's entertaining and has a wonderfully satisfying-yet-creepy ending. If you're a fan of "twist" movies like Memento and Sixth Sense but prefer a "darker" feel this may be right up your alley.
Forget the "Arrow in the Head" review, I caught this movie at a screening in Cannes last weekend and really enjoyed it. Dark, twisted and challenging (with liberal doses of very black humour: Mister Kyrke-Smith the mortician is hysterical) this is more "Rosemary's Baby" meets "Jacob's Ladder" than Jason-style slasher crap. It is something of a conundrum, but it makes a change for film-makers not to assume that the audience are idiots in need of spoon feeding. Watch closely as there appears to be clues and symbolic references scattered throughout the film - not sure I got all of them, but definitely looking forward to a second viewing. Probably not your standard multiplex fare, but if you like to think about movies and you get a chance, do go see it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Dark Corners" is a bizarre and twisted psychological horror/thriller
that centers around a young woman, Susan Hamilton (Thora Birch), who is
happily married to her husband, David (Christien Anholt), and is
desperately trying to conceive a child through a special fertilization
process, since she is unable to naturally have kids. Things seem to be
going alright, except for the strange nightmares that Susan suffers
from, in which she is another woman, Karen. But as time goes by, Susan
begins to question the lines of what is and isn't real as she finds
herself terrorized and stalked by a man who has been committing murders
in her community.
In the tradition of films like "Jacob's Ladder" and others, the premise that this film is grounded in has been done a few times, and it seems like it's a difficult thing to accomplish, because most films with this type of theme tend to be rather poor. I will say that "Dark Corners" does have some good things going for it though. While it didn't necessarily get any real fear out of me, there were some well-written scenes and a couple of clever camera tricks to be found. The sets were appropriately eerie as well, and the contrasts between the Susan and Karen worlds were intense - Susan's being very white and pure, while Karen's was dark and filthy. But the script here was a little bit muddled.
I know, I know, these types of psychological horror thrillers are typically known for being somewhat hard to follow, and this one was no exception. It lost me a couple of times, only for me to catch up eventually, and I was paying attention. Things don't really "mesh" (for lack of a better term) together well, and it felt to me that the script was kind of half baked. The premise of the nightmare world versus reality is intriguing (even though it has been done before), but it just didn't feel fully developed here. As for the acting, Thora Birch leads our cast as the mentally disturbed main character, and is good as usual. The supporting cast is mostly unknowns, and some of the acting was a little choppy. As for the film's conclusion, well, it was interesting, although it still doesn't resolve much. But maybe that was the point of the film, to pose questions and let you make up your own answer? Problem is I had a lot of trouble piecing things together to come up with my own conclusion.
Overall, "Dark Places" is a bit of a half baked psychological horror film that failed to impress me. If you've seen a film with the same basic premise (blurring lines of reality and imagination), this film isn't much different. It has a few nice moments here and there, and Birch was entertaining to watch - but overall I felt this was a rather weak and underdeveloped film. Could have been better, I suppose. You may want to give it a try, but if the odds are against you, you might as well pass on this one. 4/10.
Once again people who dislike horror movies seemed to have rated this movie low... This is a horror movie so if you like horror movies then you will like it! It had a genuinely creepy feeling which was great for this movie. In fact it was made pretty artistically because it goes from her normal life where everything is super bright to the point where it almost hurts your eyes, then her dreamself which is really dark and morbid. There is a lot of symbolism in this film and a killer ending. I love movies with twisted endings that aren't predictable. If you pay close attention to details you can begin to figure out a few things, but its hard to guess. This was an original idea, and pulled off really well. This would have gotten a higher rating if they created more suspense, I mean there was a few good parts but for how great the story was they could have done a better job!
This dark thriller isn't bad, its not great, but certainly watchable and suspenseful. The acting is good. Thora Birch gave a pretty nice performance even though she sometimes didn't seem to really understand her character. the atmosphere is great. The dream was good, and the nightmare was dark and disturbing. and it had a morale to the story. Though a lot of people might not like it (which might contribute to the low rating). It will also please gorehounds, as there is plenty of brutality and blood. I think it should have a little higher rating. Its definitely worth the watch if you come across it. I rate it 6/10 Rated R for bloody violence, disturbing images, terror, and brief nudity
Although this might be a B grade movie, it is well polished and kept me guessing right to the end. It's not every day that a good quality B grade movie is presented to us, and I think that it could actually pass for a A grade. Well done! I wish A grade movies are made this good. Do not bother with bad reviews, give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised and am sure you will be too. Although there are times when the acting is not at its best, it had me holding my sides at certain points while looking around in the spooky corners of my house at others. I give this a big thumbs up and award it 10. This movie was beautifully edited and definitely worthy to be part of anyone's collection. I will definitely be buying it to add to my collection of DVD's.
Please note: I already submitted a review, but I must have forgot to
hit a button or something, so this is a rewrite. As such, it will be
A woman (Thora Birch) is trying to get pregnant but is haunted by mysterious and morbid dreams. At the same time, her dream self is haunted by the dreams of her waking self. Which is the real, and why is her unborn child at the heart of the battle? What role does the hypnotherapist play in all this? My primary motivation for picking up this film was Thora Birch. I loved her in "American Beauty" and even more so in "Ghost World". I am sorry to say she doesn't carry that same beauty here (I like her as the short, pudgy girl) but her acting remains unblemished. Being the main character and the lead supporting character puts a lot of weight on an actor's shoulders, and she carries it.
Unfortunately, she is left to do the work with a team that is unworthy of her. The writer-director is a newcomer, and not particularly skilled. I could give him the benefit of the doubt and say the budget wasn't there or he was strapped for time. But I think this still wouldn't explain the poorly constructed plot and the lack of any real direction. Too many holes remain throughout the film ,and the tone went from serious to humorous in a very disjointed fashion.
I liked some aspects of this film: the dark world was cool, especially if you grew up playing Legend of Zelda. Dark worlds in general are always nice (who doesn't like goth chicks?). The dark humor was also good, like the way the mortician solves the problem of the erect corpse.
Continuity and plot problems run amok, and I have one prime example: the therapist. As the movie goes on, we begin to suspect more and more that he is involved in the darker elements of the film. But we never really get the full story, and worst of all -- her problems begin before we even meet him, making the case for him as a suspect very hard to swallow. Maybe I missed something.
I didn't particularly enjoy this film, and I don't think my friend Hannah did either. You know, if we hadn't just seen "I Know Who Killed Me", this probably would have been the worst horror film we had seen in a long time. Especially after watching a quality film ("Vacancy") the night before. If you can't get enough of Thora Birch, check this one out. But that's the only reason I can think of to deal with this mess, and even that's a risky decision I probably wouldn't make the second time.
this a great horror mystery movie,it keeps the spectator until the end,especially at the end..thora birch is great in this one.In the nightmare world of Karen we get to see surreal twisted visions, while in Susan's world we see her coping with the difficulties she is having with her pregnancy. Though the movie is captivating throughout, it is really the end that makes it so good. The end has a great twist that is hinted throughout the movie, but you really can't comprehend what it is you are seeing until it is all over.Probably not your standard multiplex fare, but if you like to think about movies and you get a chance, do go see it.
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