Ring of Darkness (2004 TV Movie)
User ReviewsReview this title
Don't watch it. You'll die from boredness and stupidness of the movie.
The band's lead singer finds out their secret, or suddenly has a problem with it- again, not explained. I only know he is going to reveal the secret to the world. The band can't have that and they kill him. They tell the press the pressure got to him and he is now in the hospital. In the meantime, they need a new lead singer so they have tryouts.
"It's all about the voice", says one of the band members, but then each of the contestants lip syncs the entire song. Pretty laughable. Once they get their final 3 contestants, it's off to a secluded mansion where they can make their final pick. The only problem is, they're slowly disappearing.
This movie was pretty bad, even by "B" Movie horror standards. Whoever was in charge of special effects should be banned from the industry forever. There was more horror in the acting than in the actual movie. Particularly by Ryan Starr. She is definitely not gifted in this department. There was a cool little twist at the end, which is what bumped it up to 2 stars for me but other than that, there is little more to this movie. 85 minutes of wasted time. Coltin Scott was probably the best actor in the movie, but seriously, that is not saying much. My recommendation is avoid. If you want some good "B" Movie horror, try Monster Man.
The movie starts out with the singer of a boy band getting dog piled by the rest of the band, presumably because he found out they were zombies. So the band needs a new singer and holds nation wide try outs. Three people are picked and go to the bands private Island where one by one they disappear (i.e. "eaten" by the zombies) until only the "bad boy" remains, and saves the day. Late in the movie you find out that they are actually a boy band from the 50's who got in a plane crash and they were all killed. Then this lady brings them back with some kind of magic, and they were different hit boy bands through out the past few decades. No one seemed to notice that all these bands looked like the same 4 dudes with different hair cuts and clothes. Then at the end the main characters girl friend dies and he brings her back as a zombie.
Didn't this guy see "Return of the Living Dead 3", not a good idea. Acting was horrible, script was horrible, and no blood or nudity. I wouldn't recommend this movie to anyone. Also you must endure music that makes the Backstreet Boys seem tolerable.
A great David Decoteau movie is both (i.e. "the Frightening", "the Brotherhood").
"Ring of Darkness" is neither. Not enough blood, not enough horror, way too much bad music (even by boy-band standards), and the guys BARELY take their shirts off. And I haven't even mentioned the STUPID ending, the awful foley mixing, the D-grade acting, etc etc etc.
I waited over a year for this?
This is the first 5 out of 10 I've seen in a while, which is a shame, because 5 out of 10 is my rating for "So bad it's good". On most technical and artistic levels, Ring of Darkness is a disaster. But it's enough of a disaster that it's a lot of fun to watch, for all the "wrong" reasons. I laughed more hysterically during some scenes than I do for all but the rarest comedies.
Near the beginning of the film, director David DeCoteau "treats" us to a complete music video of our faux boy band. The music couldn't be cheesier. To amp up the torture, we have to hear this same song over and over for at least the first half hour of the film. Later on the same footage is constantly intercut into other scenes. It is also used with different music (which is better), edited in a way that is supposed to suggest additional Take 10 videos. Padding is a big theme throughout the film. The music video isn't the only footage reused.
There are also chase scenes that go on for what seem to be hours, until there's not one shred of suspense left. DeCoteau and editor Danny Draven, two Full Moon alumni (which might be bad news in itself to many, but I actually like quite a few Full Moon films; at least they're far better than Ring of Darkness), cut the chase scenes with "fancy" changes in the film speed. The final result just looks ridiculous and feels like more padding.
The funniest aspect for me was the acting, and the worst offender was Ryan Starr (as Stacy), who comes to the film world by way of her stint as a contestant on "American Idol". Starr has a chronic case of marble mouth. On top of it, she says her lines far too quickly and she emotes as well as a brick wall. Why would DeCoteau just let such a shoddy performance pass? Maybe he didn't, but he couldn't get any improvement. That may be why Starr, whose picture is prominently in the center of the poster and video box art, is strangely absent for long periods of time. Not that most of the other actors are any better. Even a veteran like Adrienne Barbeau comes across poorly in the film. Surprisingly, there was one good performance--Coltin Scott (aka Stephen Scott Martines), as boy band candidate Shawn, was quite entertaining. He should get himself to a better film. Quick.
For a film that's ostensibly a horror flick, there is very little horror here. The "attack scenes", as few and far between as they are, are all shown with wide shots. They are completely bloodless. For scenes in Take 10's "secret lair", victims are bound and "slashed", except it's the worst knife wound effect I've ever seen. It couldn't be clearer that there is just some oddly colored fluid coming out of the knife, with absolutely no perforation of flesh. The make-up, which is important later in the film to establish the true nature of Take 10, looks worse than what an eight your old could do with your typical dime store Halloween kit.
It's difficult to know exactly whom the film is supposed to appeal to. My guess is that young teenaged girls and gay men would like it the most, as DeCoteau, who is an openly gay director and is well known for his homoerotic genre films, fills Ring of Darkness with men in various states of undress, posing for the cameras. As another reviewer noted, there are strong subtexts based on the inherent gayness of boy bands. The threatened exposure in the beginning can be seen as a threatened "outing" of sexual orientation. Take 10's bonding rituals have strong homoerotic overtones, as does the bondage and fluid ingestion that takes place in their secret lair. The name of the film can be seen as a double entendre (although it's just as likely to be intended to cash in on the success of the Ring films as well as the Spanish horror film from 2002 known as Darkness), similar to Andy Dick's song "Little Brown Ring", or indeed even "Backstreet Boys". This might all be very interesting if only the film weren't such an artistic toxic waste dump.
But again for its unintentional properties, Ring of Darkness is extremely funny. I actually had to pause the film a number of times because I was laughing so hard. I had tears streaming from my eyes. After a while, whenever Starr would appear, I would lose it.
I feel bad having to "bash" this film. From what I know about DeCoteau, he sounds like a great guy who goes out of his way to give breaks to aspiring filmmakers. I'm also a Fangoria fanatic. Scriptwriter Michael Gingold has long been Managing Editor of Fangoria. But I also have to give my honest opinion as a critic--this film sucks. It's only worth seeing for free, and only if you are the type to create your own "Mystery Science Theater 3000" (1988)-styled commentary.
i never felt more gay in my life..
my roommates girlfriend commented "it makes me feel gay watching this" wow...
what a horrible movie i would recommend the great movie Phantoms over this one and thats saying a lot.
Plot Summary: When a boy bands lead singer mysteriously diappears the media says that he ran away because he could not handle the fame... (more) (view trailer) User Comments: Another homoerotic horror film from David DeCoteau (more)
And then the audition to replace the gone lead singer. All of the guys auditioning - sounded the same. They all didn't do anything different in the dancing department - with the exception of pointing of the fingers to the audience and of course - lifting up their shirts to show off their six pack.
It's on cable - maybe I will watch the rest of the movie sometime this month - but if I don't - trust me - I won't miss it.
The only good thing about this movie was maybe - John Wynne. Cute Guy.
You see Gordo found out who the members of the group really are and tried to make a run for it from the groups island, Compus, where they were all staying at. Captured on the beach Gordo tells the group members that he's going to spill the beans on them, to the National Enquire. Only to get spilled into the ocean by them never to be seen again.
Coming up with this cock & bull story that Gordo was a drug addict and was sent by the group to some secret rehabilitation clinic they through their manager Alex, Adrienne Barbeau, conduct a nation wide search for Gordo's replacement. Narrowing the competition for Gordo's job down to three lucky guys Max Jonah & Shawn, Eric Dearborn Jeff Paterson & Coltin Scott,their flown to Compus for what would be a battle for the lead singers contest to see who's the one to finally replace Gordo.
At the island strange things begin to happen in that Jonah turns out to be an undercover reporter working for a supermarket tabloid magazine, The National Enquire?. He's soon discovered by the group members only to be iced and never seen or heard from again. Max who would give his right arm to make the group "Take Ten" ends up giving up a lot more, his life. When they feel he's not cut out to be with them and do a little bit of cutting up of Max on their own.
Shawn who's at the island with his girlfriend Stacy, Ryan Starr, isn't really interested in becoming a group member, It's all Stacy's idea. He tries to leave the island only to be captured by the Take Ten and their manager Alex, who seems to have the hots for him,and. He's then put through this really weird ritual at a secret cave by the beach where Shawn as well as all the group members, striped down to his boxer shorts as the group preforms some kind of Satanic rites or ceremony on him. Shawn is at last rescued by his girlfriend Stacy who comes to his aid with a cross-bow. Later Shawn unties himself and takes what looks like a bunch of voodoo dolls and throws them into the fire, that the group set for their ceremony, causing them as well as the group members to burn to a crisp.
The movie tries to give us a surprise ending which is about as effective as the rest of the story that preceded it: it's totally unbelievable. Were given this BS story about the group being around since the mid 1950's changing their name every five years or so. The rock & Roll group kept hitting the top Billboard Charts with hit after hit for the last fifty years starting with the 1954 Rock & Roll band Bobby Coolly and the Sea Sharks.
As for the Busty Adrienne Barbeau who played Alex, the Take Ten's manager, looked like she was either out in the sun too long or went the distance in the boxing ring with "Iron Mike" Tyson.
OK--this isn't a good movie. Like other DeCoteau movies it has a bad script. The opening number clued me in that I was in trouble--the song sucks and there's some hysterically bad "dancing". Also these guys make other boy bands (like N'Sync and the Backstreet Boys)look like they have talent! Also the auditions are painful to watch--Scott gives the WORST one--but they pick him! The acting is (with one exception) dreadful. When Adrienne Barbeau gives the best performance you KNOW something is wrong! Ryan Starr (as Walkers girlfriend) is easily the worst offender. The film (even at 80 min) has endless padding full of bad songs, shots of the ocean and pointless dream sequences.
Still I'm giving this a 7. Why? Cause I'm a gay guy and this film is full of strong homoerotic images--the guys are good-looking and have nice bodies. DeCoteau is a gay man and he makes these films to appeal to a gay audience--nothing wrong with that! He also does throw in a few untalented, big-breasted women to assure us that these guys are straight--but it's always clear who this film was made for. The best looking guys are Jeff Peterson (who plays Jonah and actually gives a good performance) and Scott--and Scott definitely has the best body--the sequence with him running around in black shorts shows this! So this is a pretty bad film but most gay guys will be pleasantly entertained by the images.
If you know David DeCouteau, you know that he loves featuring young men in his movies. Preferably young men with sculpted bodies who like to take off their shirts. You might often find homoerotic undertones, as well. If you know this and know that this move was made by DeCouteau, you will not be the least bit surprised by the endless stream of young male flesh parading on your screen.
The boy band song (Christian Ebner's "Sexin' Me") was played a bit too long for my liking. Okay, maybe not a bit too long -- a lot too long. If I go the rest of my life without ever hearing that song again, I would be perfectly okay with that. Did every audition have to have that same song, with the guys obviously lip-syncing? Geez!
I am curious if the film was financed by Von Dutch, as their hats and shirts are everywhere. Of course, this could just be the director's way of letting us know these guys are tools...
The group "Take 10" - Greg Cipes (as Gordo McSteel), Jeremy Jackson (as Xavier Doorsberg), Matthew Thomas Baker (as Jake Slater), Colin Bain (as B.J. Banyon), and John Wynn (as Kyle West) - definitely captures that "boy band" look. "Idol" wannabes Martines, Eric Dearborn, and Jeff Peterson are of a rougher cut, but all eight would answer "YES!" to the question, "Do you work out?" Adrienne Barbeau (as Alex Marshall) can still titillate, and Ms. Starr has a nice swing in her backyard - but, mainly, this is a film to watch if you're into eyeing slim-waisted young men.
**** Ring of Darkness (2/28/04) David DeCoteau ~ Stephen Martines, Jeremy Jackson, Adrienne Barbeau, Ryan Starr
B movies are not recognised for their social commentary, but Ring of Darkness can be considered a modest exception. This, and many others produced by Rapid Heart Pictures, are essentially 'closet horror' movies.
Homosexual themes are not presented explicitly, but the style of the direction, the subtextual interpretations of the narrative and the posters for the films themselves all indicate something slightly different from the mainstream. Though present, heterosexual women have only a peripheral role in the narrative and the gaze of the camera contradicts every 'straight' moment, a principle argument in 'queer theory' of the implications of the buddy movie narratives of Lethal Weapon (1987) etc.
This subconscious presentation of sexual concerns is not uncommon. Studies of a great deal of horror films consider the view of the monster as metaphorical. A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985) can be seen as a destructive 'coming out' narrative. This film goes a step further by highlighting the male form over all other aspects. This colours responses to the narrative and the director's intentions.
Director David DeCoteau is a director with many years of experience in exploitation cinema and clearly has an agenda. Openly gay himself, every decision in his recent films appears to have been made for a reason. So, one has to consider the full implications of a film which advertises itself with posters of young men who look as though they stepped out of the pages of Attitude, yet contain not even the briefest mention of homosexuality, let alone romance.
While the homo-erotica of DeCoteau's contemporary oeuvre appears greatly indebted to the likes of Interview with the Vampire (1994), Ring of Darkness is a closer relation to that film's inferior sequel, Queen of the Damned (2002) in its unity of horror and popular music. Unlike that film the music is the hook and not the selling point. Here we go beyond usual horror cliché to explore the boy band phenomenon itself, which has dominated the music industry for over 10 years.
Society is still rather uncomfortable with homosexuality. We've just about accepted it on TV, and that's mainly in relation to comedy. Many celebrities are still believed to be in the closet because of such prejudice. Take the boy band for example. Occasionally extremely camp, in terms of theatrical choreography and attention to physical perfection, boy bands always sing ballads about women and are adored mostly by young girls, who make up the majority of the pop audience. I don't feel like I'm incorrect in saying that if an openly gay boy band emerged their success would be severely limited. It appears that this is a foundation for DeCoteau's film, with the band protecting their metaphorical secret from an innocent public.
Issues of sexuality aside, it seems the film strives even to use the horror as a metaphor for pop music itself. Called Take 10, this is merely the current incarnation of the immortal quartet. It is discovered that they have actually been around since the 1950s, continually reinventing themselves to conform to the latest pop trend. Quite clearly this is a clever swipe at the nature of pop music itself, a genre whose popularity is ephemeral and in constant need of change to adapt to the culture of the time.
My playground sense of humour meant that I couldn't help but snigger a little at the irony implied by the title. From an allegorical perspective it seems actually kind of apt. Mainstream society's long held fears of homosexuality are played out as the protagonist struggles to keep hold of his prized heterosexuality in a familiar 'join us or die' narrative. The secret of their monster nature representing their closet status, the violent acts they commit play to dated fears of their predatory nature; their cannibalism specifically playing on fears of rape.
Due to uncharacteristic complexity I initially had difficulty trying to figure out what point director David DeCoteau is trying to make. It appears he's sending mixed signals. Playing the film 'straight' does allow the film to appeal to a wide audience, and in a sense he is exploiting audience expectation. The modestly sexy shots of the girls in the movie are clearly highlighted in the trailer far more than the overwhelming number of male 'underwear model' shots that fill the running time. He seems to have fun playing with the audience. Objectifying men instead of women can create unease in an audience far more than even gore, so DeCoteau makes sure the role of girlfriend is there to reassure, allowing a conventional narrative to carry the viewer along.
Even though the times have changed, to make a genre film which frankly presented homosexual characters would likely cause it to be marginalised. DeCoteau's films enjoy the best of both worlds. A Bi-movie, if you'll forgive the pun. Maximising the talents of a small cast, a modest location and minimising special effects, Gay audiences can have fun with the subversion of film-making norms and enjoy the sculpted physiques on display.
Straight audiences can safely enjoy a horror narrative which exploits their fear of the unknown, consistently appeased by the sight of nubile young women and the safe resolution of the defeat of evil. DeCoteau's intent is actually closer to that of David Cronenberg or Clive Barker. Good and evil, black and white, there are no absolutes in reality. Ring of Darkness allows the audience to see what it wants to and to consider the implications themselves.
Back to Adrienne though and I hope to track down more and more of her movies. I have got "That Rat movie", The Fog, Cannonball Run, The Convent, Escape From New York, Swamp Thing and I hope to gather more. Any suggestions on Region 2 DVD?