Welcome witches and warlocks,
Today I will be reviewing the horror/thriller DEVIL IN THE DARK by director Tim Brown. To best describe the story, I will turn to the IMDB plot summary:
“Two estranged brothers find themselves stalked by a terrifying, unknown presence while on a weekend hunting trip in remote British Columbia.”
Allow me to flip the script a bit and talk about one of the problems I had with this feature first: the divide between the brothers. Too often have we seen siblings with different interests unable to find common ground and setting it against the background of the woodsman older brother not connecting with his city slicker younger sibling just felt so familiar. The times this comes up in conversation the dialogue feels a bit forced (except for the flashbacks, those worked) so I much preferred the moments where they made it clear each man’s standing without any actual discussion.
The silence between the brothers are where we really get to see how good the actors are at their roles. These two did such a fantastic job of portraying the estrangement that they completely summed up some of the dialogue by just staying quiet in one another’s presence. The tension was palpable and each glare, grimace, or pause only helped to further emphasize the rift that has formed. It is in these quiet moments that one can forget some of the more clunky dialogue since we become entirely focused on the performances.
While the siblings go on their hunting trip, we the audience are treated to some truly spectacular views of British Columbia’s mountains. While it might seem strange to mention the scenic in a horror movie review, I feel it is necessary to point out here as it speaks highly to the composition of this piece. The shots are absolutely breathtaking whether it be a bridge through the mountainous terrain or the much more creepy antler covered cave.
The horror itself is more of a slice of life styled tale, as we never get any more information on what is going on than what the brothers learn. There is no explanation of the creature’s history, motivations, or even the connection they shared with the beast, just a strange force stalking them through the woods. Though much is implied about the nature of their tormentor, little gets confirmed even by the finale. It is the mystery surrounding their stalker that adds to the terror and makes for a truly cool last shot.
All in all, the few clunky bits of dialogue are saved by some wonderful performances in this visually fantastic film. There is much to be made of what is going on, but whatever the viewer’s interpretation it is hard not to feel a twinge of fear when it comes to the unknown assailant. Fans of BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (1999) and DELIVERANCE (1972) should seek out this outdoor chiller.
DEVIL IN THE DARK will be available on VOD March 7th from Momentum Pictures
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