3.4/10
417
34 user 11 critic

Dark Town (2004)

R | | Horror | Video 2004
A quiet suburban town is overrun by vampires! The once idyllic portrait of a typical American family now hosts spectacles of carnage behind every picket fence as the neighbors prowl the streets feasting on the dead and dying.

Director:

Desi Scarpone

Writer:

David Birke
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Janet Martin Janet Martin ... Jen Armstrong
Delpaneaux Wills ... Rakeem (as Del Wills)
Joel King ... Curtis Armstrong Sr.
Meghan Stansfield Meghan Stansfield ... Lisa
Alison Miller ... Sandy Armstrong (as Alison Dian Miller)
Sarah Horvath Sarah Horvath ... Heather
Kobina Wright Kobina Wright ... Tisha
Claire Mills ... Ellen
Curtis Nysmith ... Curtis Armstrong Jr. (as Rawling Curtis)
Derrick Wayne Smith ... O-Dog
Gene Samuel Gene Samuel ... Dwayne
T'Shaun Barrett T'Shaun Barrett ... Lewis (as T'Shaun Laren)
Ariana Fronti Ariana Fronti ... Monique
Noah Knight Noah Knight ... Cinque
Lanre Idewu ... Mos
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Storyline

A quiet suburban town is overrun by vampires! The once idyllic portrait of a typical American family now hosts spectacles of carnage behind every picket fence as the neighbors prowl the streets feasting on the dead and dying.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Evil has a home See more »

Genres:

Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong horror violence/gore, sexual content and language

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Immortal Ecstasy See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The home movie footage seen during the opening credits came from the home movies of director Desi Scarpone. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Great idea, flawed movie
14 November 2006 | by jluis1984See all my reviews

The world of independent cinema is definitely a difficult one to work, sure, the artists receive an unlimited amount of freedom and the chance to put on film whatever idea they have on mind without caring if the content goes against studio policies or marketing issues. However, this apparently unlimited freedom comes hand in hand with the difficult task of raising funds for the project without the aid of wealthy producers or helpful supporters, putting the quality of the final product in a compromising situation. "Dark Town" is probably one of the best examples of this double edged sword, as director Desi Scarpone and writer David Birke truly aim for a very ambitious (and surprisingly original) story that sadly gets practically mutilated by their status as independent filmmakers and modest micro-budget.

It's Curtis Armstrong's (Joel King) birthday, but instead of being celebrating it with his dysfunctional family, this greedy WASP slumlord is checking one of his properties in Compton during a series of blackouts. When he finally arrives to his suburban "paradise", his family discovers that something is not exactly right with Curtis, as he acts a bit weirder than his usual self. His wife and kids will realize too late that the head of the Armstrong family is now one of the undead, a vampire lord that quickly begins to turn the neighborhood into a bloody hell. Only his estranged lesbian daughter Jen (Janet Martin) seems to be unaffected by the curse and she'll have to make an uneasy alliance with a group of Gangstas from Compton who chose the wrong night to have their revenge against Armstrong.

As written above, this film does offer a somewhat original story, as David Birke's tale of suburban horror adds elements of zombie films to his vampire tale. In fact, the violent beastly way his vampires behave can not be more far removed from the seductive stereotype usually portrayed on film, as their bite has more to do with the gruesome cannibalism of Fulci's zombie films than with the smooth kiss of Dracula. With a not-so-subtle social cometary and a convoluted plot that rises more questions than answers, Birke's vampire odyssey sadly ends up as a very ambitious project that feels incomplete and sloppy due to the poor development of the dialogs and characters, as well as the lack of enough funds to create what truly may have looked like a great idea on paper.

Director Desi Scarpone makes a respectable effort to bring Birke's story to life, but it's obvious that this suburban vampire story proved to be more ambitious than what the crew was able to achieve. Shot on video, the film has a photography that at best looks like a soap opera, but at its worst it looks like a poor student's project; however, it's wort to point out that Adam Tash's cinematography offers really inventive points of view and a somewhat creative camera-work despite the poor look of what he captures. While some of the make up is really cheap, most of the gore effects (and there are plenty of them) look indeed very good. Overall Scarpone shows conviction, love for his movie and even talent behind the camera; sadly not enough of those elements to save the film from its fate.

The acting is the film's true downfall, as most of the cast members act and speak their lines with the skills of an amateur. The fact that the script is not that good is a serious problem, but this kind of acting only makes things worse, and shows that directing actors is a characteristic that Scarpone needs to practice more in order to improve. Still, one actor manage to come up with not only an effective work, but also a believable one, and that is Joel King's performance as Curtis Armstrong. King seems to enjoy the part of this despicable evil vampire and it's safe to say that is his performance what sometimes saves the film from being a disgrace.

Honestly, it would be very easy to write about the countless flaws found in "Dark Town", as everything from the cinematography to the acting to the way the script is written is plagued with problems that make the movie feel as a mediocre horror film; but it's better to say that what Scarpone and Birke attempted in the film is something that should be done more often in films: to offer a fresh and original take on a horror sub-genre. Sure, "Dark Town" is disjointed, and maybe boring at times, but as a low-budget attempt is not that bad.

I wouldn't recommend this movie to everyone, as people not used to micro budget movies would not really appreciate the effort put in this indie film, but fans of micro budget horror movies will find an original film that while not very well done, it's fairly original and even entertaining when watched with the right mood. Definitely not a winner, but not "the worst film ever made". 4/10


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