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Dark Hours, The

Reviewed By Erik Childress
Posted 10/24/05 18:05:28

"The Landers Sisters Are Smarter Than Anyone In This Movie"
1 stars (Sucks)

SCREENED AT THE 2005 CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: Iím having trouble recalling what would be the most incompetent piece of directing within the horror genre Iíve ever seen. Your routine slasher exercises deliver precisely what most of them promise in the blood-and-breasts department, no matter how boring or poorly acted. The twisty, more psychological experiments can live or die off its revelations and the post-Keyser Soze era is more conducive to complaints in the script department than its final presentation. This spinoff of the horror genre are usually slick enough or keep its participants piecing its puzzle long enough to barely notice the work of the helmer. But Paul Fox takes the cake and falls flat into it with one of the limpest stalker terrors to ever frustrate an audience. If this movie had any balls at all it would suck them. Because thatís all this movie does Ė suck balls.

Dr. Samantha Goodman (Kate Greenhouse) works in a psychiatric institution where she analyzes brain matter to discover the nature of violent offenders. Her cold methods upset her patients, but maybe sheís just got her mind on other things like the tumor penetrating it. Taking some time off, she heads up to a cabin to meet hubby Dave (Gordon Currie) and sister Melody (Iris Graham), whom we can deduce have been up to more than preparing dinner.

The cozy weekend takes a horrific turn when a creepy little drifter (Dov Tiefenbach) shows up and under the guise of help, holds them at gunpoint before an even more menacing cipher enters the picture. Harlan Pyne (Aidan Devine) is a former patient of Samís - former in that he just escaped Ė and looks for a little payback by running the psychological gamut on her through a series of dangerous games.

As with any killer stalker film, whether it be Friday the 13th or Silence of the Lambs, the emphasis of the terror depends on the helplessness of the victims. This can be done through the strength of the villain or in the depletion of escape routes; accomplished by claustrophobic surroundings, weather conditions, etcÖ The Dark Hours has no conceivable position on how to make this happen and loses us instantly. We may boast about how brave we would be in the same situation or even get interactive in trying to coax the characters into safety. But our eagerness turns instantly into restlessness as we wonder why no one is able to overpower the little pissant sidekick. Yes, heís got a gun but heís hardly an ace. A light breeze would distract this kid. The home team has a 3-to-2 advantage on these bastards and they allow them to talk and talk and lose focus constantly and none of Harlanís games approach a level of creativity beyond your average game of Spin the Bottle.

If you havenít given up and started rooting for a mountain goat attack, then donít be surprised when The Dark Hours goes into territory that make the final acts of Identity and High Tension seem plausible. Whatís so insincere about its machinations is the way it slowly eases you into his ridiculousness. Acting like they know they are full of crap with this outcome, itís dumbed down to a patterned reveal like weíre about to see something never attempted before. Well, you have and with far greater authority and meaning. The actors have no sense of urgency and The Dark Hours just lumbers along with everyone involved unsure of how they fit into the whole hostage/terrorist-terrorist/hostage scenario. Itís a boring, anger-inducing excrement stain of a movie that will have you making a move out of your seat while the characters are still trying to figure out what to do. If you have a victim-off pitted between a blonde, big-breasted bimbo from central casting a d the threesome in this film Ė bet all-in on the bimbo. Like sitting through The Dark Hours, at least she will know when to get up and run.

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