Dark Was the Night was high up on my list of horror flicks to see this year. I know that is not exactly a badge of honor, or a fact the film maker cares about, but to hell with him! He had nothing to do with why I was excited to see this flick. Sure, the trailer looked promising and when you got a terrifying creature tormenting a small town, I’m always game, but all that’s a dime a dozen with horror flicks. This movie features Kevin Durand in the leading role. I know for most that name doesn’t ring a bell, but Durand has been in something you love, no matter what kind of movies/T.V. you are in to. Right now Durand is playing the big Russian in FX’s The Strain. If you seen the show then you mostly likely know you’ve seen this man in about a 100 things. If you have a massive collection of movies that consist of 18 copies of Evil Dead and an offensive amount of Kurt Russell movies ( including 2 copies of Cap’t Ron because Pizza Hut did that weird DVD giveaway promotion with every stuff crust pizza you bought… Yeah I ate so much I got doubles…) that means you got great taste in actors and always wondered if the big scary guy from Lost, Smoking Aces or any other flick he’s in, can carry a movie. Sure he’s great at being huge and intimidating, but does he got the chops to carry a whole film??? Apparently, director Jack Heller felt he could and cast him in the lead in Dark Was the Night. Now the world of crappy pizza eating DVD collectors gets to find out for themselves.
I gave the broad strokes of the plot up above: Small town in upstate New York is terrorized by terrifying creature and it’s up to the town Sheriff to save the town. Not exactly reinventing the wheel, but the devil is in the details and that there is where the meat to this one lies. Sheriff Paul Shields (Kevin Durand) is going through some deep shit. After the death of his son, Shields blames himself and is having a hard time keeping it together. And when your already tittering on the edge the last thing you want is a monster to attack the town your paid to protect. Wouldn’t you know, that’s just what happens. Friggen’ monsters always popping up at the worst times. Now it’s up the Sheriff Shields and newly transferred deputy (Lucas Haas) to get his shit together and kick some monster ass!
Dark Was the Night is a story of redemption pretending to be a horror flick. Kevin Durand is flexing his acting chops and delivers a performance that really tugs at the ole’ heart strings. He’s a man whose job is to protect people and he couldn’t keep his own family safe and now he blames himself. It most scenes it feels like he is seconds away from crying. He oozes remorse and self loathing and is completely conflict with his own identity as a police officer and is hesitant to step up when he discovers what is really going on. All film makers take note Kevin Durand is powerhouse. He carries this entire film on his back and really makes you feel for this character.
Director Jack Heller dulls out the scares with an expert hand and soaks the atmosphere with the dread and despair that Shields is feeling. When doing a creatures feature on a budget it’s best not to show your hand till the climax and this he does. For three-fourths of the flick we get only glimpses of the creature and our minds fill in the rest. Sadly, the CGI heavy pay-off at the end doesn’t live up to what we’ve conjured up. It’s not a deal breaker and doesn’t completely shit all over the film. It’s SyFy channel level of shitty, but what can I say? I fucking hate CGI. Especially, CGI on a budget.
It’s safe to say that my mild obsession with Kevin Durand has paid off. The guy didn’t let me down and I now can sleep at night knowing the guy was the lead. Tight, tense and creepy as hell, Dark Was the Night is a badass monster movie.