Friday, October 23, 2015

Halloween Movie Month: Darkroom

Darkroom (2013)
Netflix instant

Darkroom is about a young woman, Michelle (Kaylee DeFer), who takes a job that is referred to her by her counselor and is subsequently kidnapped and trapped in a mansion where a disturbed family "purges" her of her sins.

Darkroom feels like a pseudo-Saw meets House of Whipcord style movie.  It is a standard "torture young women for being evil," similar to the kind that were prevalent in the 70s and 80s.  While many movies of this type that came out in the 70s were notable due to their shock value, Darkroom did not live up to the standards of its inspiration.  You would think that a hyper-religious family torturing women for sexual impurity would have more scenes of gore or shock value.  However, for the vast majority of Darkroom, I was just bored.

It starts out with non-linear storytelling, but it feels more like scattered ramblings than intentional decisions.  There is a minor character that is introduced and killed almost instantly.  If the character had been kept around, hearing her tortured could have had a much stronger psychological impact on Michelle.  That character is not the only one that dies quickly.  If the family is killing off the women so quickly, rather than torturing them with the delusion of "purging" their sins, then why even bother kidnapping them and going through some of the ritual?

Darkroom has a very small cast, so there might have been limitations to what they thought they could do.  But, they could have done so much more with what they had available!  There was nothing about any of the characters that made them relatable or likeable.  There were times when I thought that the characters approached likeability, but then they quickly did something that made me say "nope...still don't care at all about what happens to them."

Rating and Recommendation:  1.5/5.  Pass.  There wasn't anything that I especially hated about Darkroom...I was just bored by it.  I think that there was potential for it to be pretty interesting, but they went in the wrong direction.  If the story had followed the family and the trauma that they experienced, then that could have been pretty interesting.  It also could have made at least one of the characters relatable.  The movie starts with the delusion of the youngest brother and it ends with old home footage of the family being happy and playing in the courtyard of the mansion.  If they had just focused on the youngest brother, they might have actually made him an interesting character.  As it is, everything jumped around and was too disjointed.  There was no heart anywhere in the movie to make me care about anything that was happening to any of them.

Be sure  to check back soon for more reviews in Halloween Movie Month!  In the meantime, leave comments on this (or any other) review, follow me here and on twitter (@GargyleReviews), and let me know what movies you'd like for me to review for Halloween Movie Month!

- The Gargyle

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