‘Beware of the woods’
The Dark is a 2017 Austrian horror feature film directed by Justin P. Lange and Klemens Hufnagl, based on a screenplay by Lange and their 2013 short of the same name. The movie stars Nadia Alexander, Toby Nichols, Karl Markovics, Margarete Tiesel, Dylan Trowbridge and Chris Farquhar.
A murderous, flesh-eating undead young girl haunting the remote stretch of woods where she was murdered decades earlier, discovers a kidnapped and abused boy hiding in the trunk of one of her victim’s cars.
Her decision to let the boy live throws her aggressively solitary existence into upheaval and ultimately forces her to re-examine just how much of her humanity her murderer was able to destroy…
The Dark is released on DVD in the UK by Signature’s ‘FrightFest Presents’ imprint on October 22, 2018.
“A good deal of talent went into The Dark, but the screenplay could have gone through five or six more drafts. Too often things happen just to facilitate something more important happening down the line. A lot of genre fans will be frustrated by its gaps and glossed over shortcuts, but impressed by its cold, clammy atmosphere.” Joe Bendel, J.B. Spins
“Lange chooses not to explain too much […] and is more interested in the tentative moves the kids make towards friendship and even love in circumstances when any familiar teen romance is impossible. Acted with conviction and permeated with minatory boskiness, it’s a small, whispery fairy tale rather than a horror classic in the making – but it’s very fine. It may be that its only drawback is a rather generic, often-used title.” The Kim Newman Web Site
“After a gripping opening that keeps us on our toes and guessing where all this is headed, it does get a little bogged down when Mina and Alex set off on their journey to salvation, with flashbacks intercut with rote scenes of Mina knocking off enough humans to maintain the interest of any horror fans drawn to its premise by the prospect of bloodshed.” Eric Hillis, The Movie Waffler
“The Dark is a serious film, with a sombre consideration of abuse. The friendship, yes, is reminiscent of the one in Let the Right One In, but the melancholy tone is straight from the Schwarzenegger film Maggie. The careful, studied camera work reinforces the tone of the story beautifully; no surprise, considering the co-director Klemens Hufnagl looked after the cinematography too.” Alice Field, Ready Steady Cut!
” …has an abundance of mysteries, which hint at some loftier storytelling ambitions, but there’s only so much that can be accomplished over the course of a single movie, and only so far you can get if almost all of a film’s mysteries remain unsolved.” Karen Han, RogerEbert.com
Cinematographer Klemens Hufnagl (also credited as co-director) assists Justin P. Lange in suffusing The Dark with many shades of black and grey, bestowing a moody atmosphere that perfectly complements its tale of death and resurrection—both physical and spiritual […] The Dark brings true heart to the horror genre, while providing just enough of the blood and guts to keep harder-core fans satisfied.” Michael Gingold, Rue Morgue
“Ultimately, The Dark does become encumbered by its own ambition and sense of self-importance, and would have benefited from a faster pace and – dare I say – more sadistic sense of fun. As it stands, The Dark broods in the shadows, never quite stepping out into the light.” James Marsh, Screen Anarchy
” …feels inorganic and affected. The Dark deserves credit for avoiding most zombie-pic cliches. Still, the thorny issues raised here ultimately feel trivialized by the horror elements, just as the scares fail to fly because they’re tethered to too much psychological trauma.” Dennis Harvey, Variety
“The perpetually solemn mood – including near-glacial pacing, at times, for a 94-minute film – and flirtations with very sensitive matters concerning childhood sexual abuse never really jive with both the gambit of having Mina be a zombie and the need to throw in some murder victim fodder every so often. Although The Dark’s unique premise sets it apart in the undead horror marketplace, the film’s vision could have used some tightening to pull off its intended pathos without trivialising it.” Josh Slater-Williams, VODzilla