Cortney Palm as Nicole
David Hull as Josh
Brittany Underwood as Amanda
Written and co-directed by Michael McQuown
Billed as a “radical found-footage horror anthology of five intelligent stories”, the Dark Tapes appears to be five different films edited together into a feature-length film. Regardless. It’s very good. The stories are:
Cam Girls—two young women use the internet (and their good looks/willingness to go as far as possible on screen) to lure viewers into their twisted world. This one had me a little shocked. I got the premise—live internet porn, basically—but there are some flashes of evil that makes your eyes widen. Couldn’t believe that the poor man at the end would ever actually do THAT because a girl online says she wants him to. Nuts.
Hunted and Hunters—an interesting story from the vein of the Paranormal Activity franchise. A young couple moves into a new home and starts experiencing strange phenomena, so they call the doctors to help them. New information arises and the twist might have been the best I saw all week. Very well done. Creeptastic.
To Catch A Demon (A and B)—I think this story comprises two in the final count? Or maybe it was Hunted and Hunters (different perspectives)? Not 100% on that. Anyway: a college physics/something professor and student set up a lab in what looks like a theater and, along with their cameraman, attempt to find the space between dimensions that is haunted by spirits. What they find is really terrifying, and such a cool idea to boot! The effects were great (and according to the writer/director, if the film gets picked up for distribution, he wants to use better rigging for the practicals in this particular story), and the twist is so simple it’s brilliant. A big fan of this one.
Amanda’s Revenge—This is why women do things in pairs/groups at parties and when they’re out in mixed company. Poor Amanda has a horrifying experience that lasts months and months because two dudes took her away from a party. Not even her friends could help her. And did they ever try! Once Amanda gets her relief, however, you’re not terribly surprised by the final outcome. I wish something else could have been done with the culmination here, but it works, so I guess I won’t complain too loudly.
Scream meter: 6/10 Not terribly frightening, and jumping between stories tends to tame the adrenaline rush a bit. Still, a good effort. I jumped in my seat a couple of times.
Buddy meter: 5/10 Again, always good to have someone to rehash the stories with. They don’t need to protect you, but an arm to hang on when things creep around is a good thing.
Overall rating: 6/10 highly enjoyable, if a bit tame, horror film(s?). Not disappointed.