Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Darkroom

Released: 2006

Reviewed: 10.26.09
Star rating: 3 out of 5

Shawn Pyfrom (Stanley), Reed Diamond (Man), Ellie Cornell (Dr. Allen), Greg Grunberg (Bob), Lucy Lawless (Cheryl), Erin Foster (Kimberly), Julian Berlin (Loretta).

Waking up in a mental hospital with no memory of your life, including your name, is disturbing enough without suspecting you may have done something evil. So when an experimental drug that can possibly restore memory is offered to a man in just such a situation he agrees. Seeing opportunity, he escapes the hospital and as his memory starts to return he meets a young boy. The only remaining question is whether his returning memory will be a blessing or a curse.

This one briefly starts off well then stalls for a bit and looks like it will be a dud. Thankfully the plot then starts moving and the film gets much better. As the plot develops we are led down a path that doesn't take us close to where we expected with the twists thrown in at the end. The only real disappointments are poorly done plot contrivances such as a cop running a speed-trap on a deserted country dirt road so bumpy it would be impossible to speed anyway.

Acting was pretty good from Pyfrom and Grunberg. Diamond was a bit dry and emotionless while Lawless, Foster and Berlin all did very well. There just didn't seem to be a lot of spark between most of the actors.

Camera work, sets and backgrounds were okay but this was obviously a lower budget film. This was obvious with some of the special effects as well, particularly the mud monster and with vehicle stunts. The chain effects were nicely creepy though. Sound was poor with extreme variations between highs and lows. Dialogue was decent but could have been better.

Overall this was a decent thriller, not really a horror flick as billed. With average acting, decent plot, and lower budget this one lands dead in the middle of the ratings and category in my opinion. With gratuitous nude scenes, mild foul language, violence, and monsters this should probably be saved for the oldest teens and above.

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