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Darkness (1997)

DVD Cover (Barrel Entertainment)
Genres:
Horror, Vampire Film
Director:
Leif Jonker Leif Jonker
Starring:
Gary Miller Gary Miller
Michael Gisick Michael Gisick
Randall Aviks Randall Aviks
Cena Donham Cena Donham
Steve Brown Steve Brown

5.7 / 10 - 2 votes

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Review by Chad
Added: June 13, 2006
Darkness is one of those movies where the story behind its creation and eventual DVD release is actually much more interesting than the movie itself. Back in the early nineties, director Leif Jonker put this together as a sort of calling card to show off what he could do both behind the camera and with gore effects with the hope that someone with some cash would eventually see it and fund his first "real" movie. The film eventually found its way into the underground circuit, and for the last ten years, it's grown to be something of a cult classic amongst those who have seen one bootlegged edition or another. Barrel Entertainment finally gave the film a proper DVD release, and the two disc edition features the cleaned up, director-approved version of the film along with (literally) hours of extras. I'm not even going to attempt to run down the extras found within this set, but I will say that it contains more stuff than in any other two disc release that I have ever seen.

Since this was never meant to be a widely-released film, there's not much to be said about the storyline or the acting. The general gist of things is that there's a vampire named Liven (Randall Aviks) who is going from town to town and leaving behind an army of the bloodsucking beasts on each stop. The movie picks up with him and another vampire decimating all of the shoppers at a local gas station... with the exception of our soon-to-be hero Tobe (Gary Miller). After barely escaping with his life and returning home to find both his mother and sister dead, Tobe sets out to dispatch Liven and the undead that he has created.

The above synopsis is all revealed in the first ten minutes of the film. From there on out, it's nothing more than a gorehound's wet dream as we are treated to scene after bloody scene of Tobe killing vampires and vampires slaughtering humans like cattle. If you're looking for a deep storyline or hidden twists, you might want to check out another film; if, however, you're looking for a film that is absolutely packed with blood, gore, pus, guts, and exploding heads, this one should be at the top of your to-see list.

This movie was made for right around five thousand dollars, and I'd be willing to guess that about ninety-five percent of that budget went towards the red stuff. The cast is made up of teenage non-actors, some of which probably didn't even have their drivers license during the shooting of the film, and there's really no script to be found. The selling point of this film is the gore, no doubt; however, the scenes between the splatter do tend to bring the movie down a bit. The cast are inexperienced, and this isn't helped much by the fact that when they're not fighting vampires, they really don't have a whole lot in the way of character development other than "let's run" and "holy shit". I can't fault the film too much for that knowing how it came to be and all, but still - there was more than a few scenes between the dismemberments where I found myself reaching for the fast-forward button on the remote. Thankfully, you never have to wait too long before the action starts up once again.

Do you want to see some of the most insane displays of blood and gore ever to be found in a vampire movie? Does it matter to you if there's no storyline connecting the money-scenes, and can you overlook the fact that the cast involved are completely inexperienced in front of the camera? If you're still with me here, then this one definitely comes recommended by yours truly. Personally, I'd like to see what Mr. Jonker could do with a real budget and a halfway decent cast; this film is really nothing more than a demo reel, and I'm still giving it a 7/10.
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