"The Dark Hours" DVD, Blu-ray Review

6/17/2010 Posted by Admin

"The Dark Hours"

DVD, Blu-ray Review

Directed by Paul Fox, Written by Will Zmak, 80 Minutes, Rated R

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

"The Dark Hours" is a muddled but generally suspenseful psychodrama about repression, jealousy, guilt, and people arguing in cute Canadian accents.

The film takes place over one night in a cabin in the middle of nowhere. Samantha Goodman, a psychiatrist specializing in those convicted for sexual crimes, learns she has a brain tumor and may have only a year to live, and in the midst of this emotional turmoil she struggles with the possibility that her husband David may be having an affair with her sister Melody, both of whom are staying at the cabin with her. These conflicts come to a head when Harlan, a mental patient holding a grudge against Samantha, invades their cabin with a twisted lacky and forces them to play his sadistic games. As the night goes on, however, what's real and what's imagined becomes unclear and the true events of the evening are difficult to determine.

It's an interesting little thriller, if a bit overdone. The simple setting and dialogue-heavy plotting is kind of reminiscent of "Bug," and like that film you never quite know for sure what's really going on, though the uneasiness was built far more effectively in that film. Here our "villains," Harlan and Adrian, are pretty typical home invader psycho types, with very little to their characters beyond their roles as the antagonists. It makes a lot of the film kind of dull, really, as the whole thing takes place in this cabin we just these few people. Things would also be a bit better if, with a film this intimate, the dialogue were better. The thing about "Bug" or even small-setting films that aren't thrillers, they work because of how fluid and engaging the dialogue is. Here, there's just a lot of psychobabble and screaming.

The film is at its best in the more honestly dramatic moments than its more outright thrilling ones, and the acting is definitely the standout of the film. For the most part the actors are relative unknowns, and it adds a lot to the film's legitimacy. At least, until things really start going nuts in the last act.

It really might have worked out well if the film didn't descend into twist-mode at the climax. The twist itself isn't really a problem--it's believable, generally startling, and it works within the context of the events that precede it. What's bad about it is how it's introduced and how it basically brings the film to a dead halt. From that moment on the film loses every bit of momentum it had and any possible tension one might've felt is completely gone.

"The Dark Hours" doesn't quite live up to the potential set by its talent and plot, but as far as modern thrillers go, I'd be happy to see more efforts like this, and I wouldn't doubt director Paul Fox is capable of much better. The ambiguity of the events makes for a relatively intriguing film, even despite the sub-par execution of its twist, and it's well worth the short runtime.

Grade: C+

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  1. Hrushi said...

    I felt that even bollywood films are in a similar manner. They could have made it a lot better.