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Dark Corners (2006)

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As Susan Hamilton sleeps, she dreams that she is another person in an alternate reality. As her greatest fears are acted out, she is pursued by the notorious serial killer known as the Night Stalker. --IMDb
Thora Birch
Thora Birch
Toby Stephens
Toby Stephens
Christien Anholt
Christien Anholt
Joanna Hole
Joanna Hole
Lorraine Bruce
Lorraine Bruce
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Review by Crispy
Added: July 20, 2015
I really had no idea what I was in for when I popped in Dark Corners, but the DVD case promised a psychological mind-fuck of a horror film. While I know better than to trust DVD cases, Thora Birch rarely fails to please, and away we go.

Susan Hamilton has recently learned that she is not able conceive naturally and has started the process towards artificial insemination. While this is certainly a trying time for her, she has the undying love and support of her husband David and a ready ear in her friend, Elaine. Still, it's a lot of stress to deal with and she's plagued with nightmares of a young girl named Karen who works at a funeral home and is beaten and raped by a monstrous man on a nightly basis. Needless to say, the dreams have her at wit's end, and as a last resort, she visits Elaine's hypnotherapist. Like magic, the nightmares are gone, but only for a few days. In short order, they're back with a vengeance, and both worlds quickly become incredibly violent.

So that cover didn't lie; this was definitely a psychological mind-fuck, and the visuals that accompanied Susan's dreams were incredibly creepy. Karen constantly wakes up with fresh cuts and bruises before taking a seedy bus full of dirty delinquents staring at her to her job working for a man that's scarier than any corpse in the place. The whole thing has an extremely grungy feel to it, and that's before the violence starts. As the nightmare goes on, both worlds, perfect mirrors of each other, begin to spiral into darkness. Up until a point, I was certainly enjoying where this film was going. Specifically, I liked that I had no idea where it was going, and was looking forward to how this gritty tale would resolve itself. And that's where we hit the snag.

As a movie fan, few things are more annoying than a film that has to beat its explanation into its viewers like a dull nail. While there's nothing wrong with spelling a few of the murkier bits out now and again, far too many movies have to end with long monologues, flashbacks to subtle scenes from halfway through the movie or voice-overs from a seemingly innocuous conversation. Fortunately, Dark Corners didn't do that for the most part. It makes it all the more refreshing when a filmmaker has enough faith in our ability to put everything together for ourselves. Unfortunately, Dark Corners didn't exactly do that either. Instead, this plays out more like High Tension. No, not the blatant plagiarism. You see, these movies didn't put down the pieces and expect us put them together. They expected us to put the puzzle together when not only was a piece or two completely omitted, but they've been replaced with pieces that are part of a different picture. No matter how many times you move them around, they just can not and will not fit. Sure, you could think about it and come up with a few scenarios that put things back into coherence, but you've made it up. It's not part of the movie, it's all bullshit fanwankery. Having your viewers figure out what happened is a good thing, but not when they're just covering for you because you're too lazy to think things through yourself.

Susan and Karen could not be any more different, however, Thora Birch expertly slam dunked both characters. From the bliss of the former's life to the horror of the latter's, the woman definitely proved she has some acting chops and it's absolutely beyond me why she isn't more of a name than she is. The secondary level didn't slouch either. Christien Anholt had an amazing chemistry with Birch as Susan's husband, David, and Joanna Hole and Lorraine Bruce were incredibly fun as the best friends of each of Birch's characters. Finally, Toby Stephens brought a quiet charisma that suited the charming D. Woodleigh very nicely.

There was definitely some potential here, but unfortunately it's squandered away due to sheer laziness. I didn't dislike it per se, but it's infuriating to see how easily it could have been something great. 4.5/10.
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