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Ashley Mary Nunes,
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Nando Del Castillo,
Sally del Castillo
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'The Dark Stranger' drew me into seeing it, with a cool poster/cover, an intriguing and quite creative premise and as someone with a general appreciation for horror. That it was low-budget, which from frequent personal experience is rarely a good sign due to that there are so many poor ones out there, made me though apprehensive.
It is sadly however yet another film seen recently, hence some reiteration because the exact same strengths and flaws are here present in those films, that to me was quite disappointing considering its potential which it doesn't do enough with. 'The Dark Stranger' is not great, or good, has a fair share of problems (fairly big ones too) and doesn't do enough with its potential, which was hardly small. There are however a few decent, even good, qualities in 'The Dark Stranger'.
Lets start with the positives. The scenery is atmospheric, likewise with the decent way it's shot. The music is suitably spooky and quirky and doesn't distract at all from the atmosphere, while not exactly enhancing it.
A few unsettling moments and horror tropes and the acting is better than average.
However, the story does feel over-stretched and some of it feels vague, under-explained in the last third where the film especially became duller, more predictable, more senseless and less scary it got. Too many characters are too sketchy and with nowhere near enough to make one want to endear to them. Their irritating and illogical decision making and behaviours frustrates. Making the film feel bland and forgettable with not enough heart put into it. The effects are ropy at best.
Dialogue can be stilted and rambling while the pace is uneven, dragging in a lot of the second half and never is it exciting. Found too many the supposedly shocking moments not surprising or scary and the supposedly creepy atmosphere dreary, due to the excessive obviousness and the lack of tension and suspense. A lot of the film has underdeveloped plot elements and often nonsensical and confusing character motivations. There is very little threat here and what there is of it is used poorly, while the psychological elements are unimaginative and are more odd than scary. Some badly sagging momentum too. The direction is pretty leaden.
Overall, not a terrible film by any stretch but should have been darker and scarier. 4/10 Bethany Cox
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