Wednesday, April 24, 2019

"The Dark" movie is unique and complex

"The Dark" is a movie I found while searching for better-than-average horror movies for a friend of mine. I'm trying to keep batting 1.000, as my last recommendation to him (The Loved Ones) was another big hit in his estimation.

The Dark deals with the subject of monsters.

A few of the actors, including the kidnapped boy Alex, were a tad less than adequate in their craft, but it didn't ruin it for me. There was no Academy Award-winning writing, but it was original and I enjoyed it. There were several tense moments that weren't cheapened by cheesy jump scares. It was slow paced at times, but I was never bored.

The cinematography was well done. There was an ominous quality to the protagonist at times that could only have been  accomplished by the dim lighting and facial angles utilized.

The reason why The Dark is unique is because it is first and foremost a lurid fairy tale, as opposed to a simple ax-murder-fest. The protagonist is literally back from the grave, and the haunted woods her house stands in are the best unspoken explanation for the miraculous event. The pictures she draws and the sounds she hears suggest there is more to the story than mere retribution from the grave, but unfortunately we're not enlightened in that regard.

The Dark is complex because, despite Mina's face being convincingly hideous, the monster in this story isn't truly a monster. In addition, the subtle aspects of the kidnapped boy's aversion to rescue are a reminder that Stockholm Syndrome is a powerful factor when combined with believable threats to one's family.

Then there's the discussion afterwards: how many monsters did you count in the movie?

The story is a bit poignant and contains a positive ending, which many fans of horror are not disposed to enjoy from the genre. Yes, there is murder, even of what appear to be innocent people. Tragedy begets tragedy in real life, so the obscure moral of this dark fairy tale is that the cycle doesn't have to continue.

There were several interesting hints of Mina's transformation, including her attempts to burn her hand with the lighter. Can people rise from the dead in real life and become scary monsters?

Nah, but if they did, it would be nice if they all ended up like Mina. 



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