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Starring an unknown cast, 'Dark Circles' treads familiar grounds, with
a family moving away to the rural side of the USA in order to escape
the hectic life in the city. From it's chilling 5 minute opening up to
its eventual climax, 'Dark Circles' presents itself as a good start to
this years run of 'After Dark Originals'. With the aforementioned
opening 5 minutes effectively setting the tone for what's to come, I
got the feeling that this could very well be a good horror movie.
With a movie like this, and a plot that has been used countless upon countless times it's quite hard to be original and I think the director (first time feature director Paul Soter) decided to sidestep that by just trying to give us as many creepy moments as possible. For the largest part he succeeds by giving us a rundown of the common and not so common tactics to scare us. Loud sounds, a point of view camera, shapes in the distance drawing near, and a very ominous soundtrack consisting of the same 4 tone piano medley all work together to give us the unsettling vibe that is so highly sought after in these types of movies.
What makes a movie great though, is its story.dark-circles-3 And while it sets out promising, with the main leads openly discussing the disturbing things they are witnessing, ultimately it degrades itself by falling back into the old habits of horror. They start to distrust one another (which only serves as a cheap setup to give us some more scary scenes) and the plot moves from one angle to the complete opposite without any clear given reason as to why.
It didn't manage to make me dislike the movie all together, but it took away from the experience I was having up until 50 minutes into its 86 minute total. The final resolve made me think of 'High Tension' a French horror movie which had an ending that totally ruined all that came before it.
While 'Dark Circles' doesn't tread the same grounds as that one, nor did it have as much impact as 'High Tension' had, its ending makes you wonder about the logic that's being used here.
Can a ghost be killed by a knife? Will it come back? What about the people who die over the course of the movie? and what about the marriage that was under huge pressure up until 2 minutes before the end of the movie? Ultimately, 'Dark Circles' is one of those movies that entertains, but doesn't manage to rear its head amongst the better horror movies. Being a virgin in this genre could benefit your experience as a viewer, but as a seasoned vet it's a case of been there, done that.
To summarize: some genuinely creepy scenes, an effective soundtrack, decent acting and a very well shot movie make this one of the better entries into the 'After Dark Originals' library. But that doesn't mean it's great.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
To be honest, I actually thought this movie would be one of those crappy ones. You know how the movie posters are these days. They don't portray a single bit from the movie. Just total crap. But anyway, the poster for this movie didn't say much but still I was willing to sacrifice my time and my eyesight to watch it. Just because. Like I said, it's actually pretty decent. The plot is there. You can connect the dots. The actor did a pretty good job. They are some scary bits but not over the top. The scary bits are quite predictable to be honest. But still I watched it with a blanket covering half of my face. There are some funny bits as well with the babysitter. Halfway watching you might be confused. There might be tons of questions in your head. Like for example, whether the ghost is actually a ghost? What's her story? Who buys a house in the middle of nowhere? (Although every horror movie starts with the purchase of a house in the middle of nowhere) Why can't you just move out if you're feeling depressed being in that house? Why isn't anyone going to work? But towards the end, some of your questions will be answered. All in all, this movie has the screams, blood, ghost, haunted house and craziness. Last time I checked, all of those are the essence of a horror movie. If you want to watch it, you won't be extremely disappointed. If you don't want to watch it, you're not missing anything.
"Dark Circles" was somewhat of a less than mediocre experience. And I
mean that in the best possible way.
What made it less than mediocre was the slow storyline and the fact that nothing overly interesting happened at all through out the entire 87 minutes that the movie ran for.
That being said, then it should be noted that the actors were actually doing good enough jobs with their performances, they were just struggling against an uphill battle against a horrible script and a very anti-climatic storyline.
The story is about a family moving into a newly acquired house with their baby. But soon thereafter they realize that there is no rest, peace and quiet here, as the neighbors are constructing a house. And something inside their newly acquired house is not welcoming them with open arms.
The movie is nicely enough edited and filmed, just a shame that the storyline failed to be impressive.
As for a horror movie, then "Dark Circles" was awfully devoid of scary moments and anything even remotely disturbing. And this also contributed to the slow, dull pace that the movie trotted on in.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
first of I need to tip my hat to the director of the movie, for wanting
and actually putting that many styles into one movie. Not to mention
having done that in a short period and a small budget I imagine.
But....here's my 2 cents on the movie, it starts of slow, first half hour is kind of dragging but then it's starts to pick up pace... parents of a newborn get insomniac, cause of a building site next to their newly found piece of paradise and a baby who deprives them from their well-deserved sleep...
I consider myself a movie-aficionado and horror has a special place in my heart, go check out my list if you are in doubt. Anyways, about the movie, first of I found the actors to play their parts very well, both husband and wife and the psycho/ghost or whatever she was...so there's that. But why even after all the madness of sleep deprivation would you go to a local supermarket and hire an unknown girl on the spot to babysit. Mind you this is your newborn baby ? Seems kind of far-fetched but hey, I can live with that...Then you wake up missing an entire day and your baby has been completely neglected, unchanged diaper and all that. Then why don't you go after the baby sitter or just plain go back to the place of her employment and ask about what the hell has happened ?
Still I can live with that, but then this women/ghost appears in your random pictures and your dreams/hallucinations and still you want to stay in that same house,..... And why the hell don't these people as a couple talk about the things happening to them, their dreams, their premonitions, their fears, like a healthy and young couple would do ? OK, and then we have a body in the house for a couple of days and no one even smells but a whiff a something decaying. The ghost/psycho disappears from under a bed like David Copperfield....? She also manages to enter a locked house enter a kitchen cabinet unseen to appear out of it and then disappear into thin air.... This woman ah....never mind. So many mistakes when it really had me going in the beginning, and then it seemed to me like the director changed his mind and went from supernatural/ghostly apparition to psycho/lunatic crazy woman...the build up was really slow and well executed and the end was a mere disappointment of plot holes...
It's worth a watch, but a 6.6 rating, no way
I originally gave this a 7 out of ten, but after thinking about it all
day, I felt angry enough to change my vote to a 3 and leave an annoyed
I really enjoyed almost all of the movie. Loved up couple have a baby, decide to move away to the country for some quiet time. The husband is a musician so he wants some time to write and the wife wants to do up the house and raise her kid away from the busy city. Unfortunately baby wont sleep, which means parents don't sleep, resulting in sleep deprivation. The couple start arguing, they forget what they're doing, everything is not good. Plus there is some really creepy stuff going on the house, which just adds to their increasing madness.
I liked the slow decline into madness as the couple suffer more and more sleepless nights. I liked how this was further exacerbated by what was going on in their house. However, the conclusion and explanation, i.e. the ending, was utterly ridiculous and infuriating. It totally ruined the film for me and it didn't make any sense. The whole movie was rendered mute by the stupid ending and I feel cheated.
To summarise: Good film overall, creepy, engaging but sadly destroyed by idiotic ending.
First of all, I have to say I didn't expect much from Dark Circles. The
poster looked OK, but you learn to be cautious with new horror films
because under the cover often lies another boring and pretentious film
with cheap scaring techniques and a predictable, derivative plot, and
that's exactly the case here.
Johnathon Schaech and Pell James were good enough in their roles, even sympathetic, and the film had some nice ideas and scenes, like the one when Johnathon's character is dreaming. Unfortunately, the rest of the movie was just plain bad. As I mentioned, you have a totally unoriginal story which tries to be a lot of things at once, and it never succeeds at being even remotely interesting. Then you have the same old jump scares which anyone can easily predict. The villain isn't scary at all, and looks like a woman with a bit of ugly make-up on (oh wait, that's what it actually is). Atmosphere was solid until the villain started showing up in brief glimpses, and that's when most of you will realize you will be wasting your time with this movie.
I'd say skip it, life is just too short.
I read some reviews here after watching the movie. I have watched a lot of horror movies since I am a big fan of the genre. To me, this movie was not scary except last minutes but it might be very interesting for someone else and the reason is that the acceptance of a horror movie is concerned with audiences in different way. Some people enjoy horror movies based on ghosts and haunting houses, some others may prefer slasher ones and some ones like all sub-genres of horror movies. This movie is about a newly purchased house by a couple with their new born baby who move there and have insomnia. Very soon some strange things happen and a chilling lady is seen by them. In my opinion, the film was directed not bad but the written story was not enough good. Paul Soter wrote the story and directed the film as well. I previously saw his other written and directed movie,"Watching the Detective (2007)" and I think that one was a better work as a comedy-romantic movie but this movie lacks very effective shocking elements. First of all that ghost- form lady was not terrible and creepy. Second, killing of the ghost- form lady was funny if you think she was just a homeless woman looking for a baby or revenge not a ghost! Third, 3 persons (Nancy, Micheal, and the creepy lady) were killed in that house at the end and the couple (Alex and Penny) were sitting in an ambulance after the arrival of rescue forces but who the hell didn't suspect to them as murderer(s)?! Apart of these problems, the movie had relatively good filming and acting. My rating to this film was 5 out of 10. Watching this movie is up to you I don't recommend you to see or not to see it but of course not worth for second time!
If you are interested in seeing horror films that take a particular aspect of child-rearing, one that is fear-inducing for any parent or to anyone who has any experience in raising children, you may well enjoy this underplayed film. While watching it I became quickly convinced that it was a partner film to 'Grace' (2009). Although very contrasting aspects of child-rearing are turned inside-out as permitted within the possibilities offered by the horror genre, both are relatively underplayed and with small casts; the photography is subtle and although there are sudden jolts designed to shock, they really do resemble those moments when you're so tired you literally fall asleep while you're on your feet. Or at least that is what the victimised parents keep trying to convince themselves as they become more unhinged as every hour passes without rest. Grace, in its ambiguity and horrific content, is certainly a more interesting horror film. But the actresses who play the mothers in both films resemble one another not only in looks but in their obsession with taking care of their child. After checking the background info of both films, I was initially convinced they had the same director; but on closer observation I discovered that the names differ by one letter! Paul Soter directed Grace, whereas this film was directed by Paul Soler. Watching both parents gradually descend into madness as they become deprived of sleep is done hauntingly; you quickly realise where the title comes from; not crop circles or dark spirits but the lines that form under your eyes thanks to long-term weariness. The film makes use of three sets of possibilities, and thankfully doesn't reveal too quickly which one of them is true: are they hallucinating the spectre who seems to be appearing in their house, on cameras and in reflections, is their house haunted or is there a real person threatening them? Although I haven't raised a child or been kept awake by one, I certainly know how scary it can be when you lose track of time through lack of sleep and you're no longer sure which day it is, and this film milks that given for everything it's worth. It turns out that the director of Grace and Dark Circles are entirely unrelated, just as the tidy resolution presented in this film contrasts to the horrific and unexplained horrors of Grace. Still, this film was haunting, original, well-acted and is sufficiently under-played to be worthy of more than a single glance. It doesn't have a great deal to offer, but what it does present it presents in a sufficiently haunting package to give you food for thought, which as far as I'm concerned is the primary function of any truly good horror film.
DARK CIRCLES is yet another grim slice of ghostly horror, made by
schlock purveyors After Dark films. This is a cookie-cutter production
that looks and feels like at least two dozen other similar haunted
house movies made in the last five years. You know the story by now: a
young couple (with a baby in tow) are living in a creepy, run-down old
building, where the wife is assailed by horrible visions and
nightmares. Is it all in her mind or is the house really haunted?
All of these films look grim with dull, washed-out colours and shadows lurking in every corner. The characters are subdued and depressed for the most part, and that transfers across to the viewer. The silly jump scares are too obvious to really work, and when it comes that twist ending is just dumb. I miss the old days of true ghost films like THE HAUNTING or THE INNOCENTS, with their strong writing and vivid characters...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Alex & Penny have just become parents to a baby boy and have decided
that the city life isn't for them to raise their child. Relocating to a
house in the country, the couple finds their relationship deteriorating
due to the demands of caring for a newborn, including a lack of sleep.
When the couple begin seeing a mysterious woman around the house, they
at first dismiss the sightings as hallucinations brought on by sleep
deprivation. But as the visions appear more often, the parents are
forced to consider that evil is at work in their home. By the time the
truth about their new home is revealed, their tenuous grip on sanity
has already begun to slip.
Dark Circles is another of those movies that looks good in the trailers, but after you watch it, you realise that it only looks good because the best bits of the movie were in the trailers. 1-star ratings indicate that it's Awful, but it wasn't as bad as that so I gave it a generous 2 as it's not a hideous movie and I've seen MUCH worse, but it IS extremely slow going and just never really picked up.
We all know the theme has been done more times than we can count - people move to new house, a person starts seeing things in said new house, things start to escalate - but films can still be good even if they aren't that original. This one isn't original and it's definitely not that good.
Dark Circles is also one of those movies where nothing is really explained until the last two minutes. I don't mind movies where you have to use your brain and piece things together, but there was not even a hint of who the mysterious person was, where she came from, or what she was doing, so you can't piece parts together if you're not actually given anything.
It wasn't really all that scary either, but it did have a wee bit of suspense in it. Unfortunately, it just gets far too repetitive, so it becomes very boring after a while. It's not the worst movie you'll see but there is definitely much better of this genre out there.
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