Hello again my freakish followers. This time around I’m gonna take a look at a movie that piqued my interest, not only because of the story itself, but because of the director involved. Dark Circles was directed by Paul Soter, who some of you may recognize as a member of the comedy troupe “Broken Lizard,” which made Super Troopers, Club Dread, and Beerfest, to name a few examples. So needless to say, someone normally associated with comedies deciding to direct a straight horror movie piqued my interest. Allow me to walk you through the movie so that I can give my thoughts.
The movie centers around Alex and Penny, a couple of soon to be parents who decide to buy a house outside of the city to raise their child. After an unexpected labor has Penny giving birth in the city, some time passes and they finally get a house and move in. However, almost immediately something seems off about the house. Strange noises are heard periodically, and a weird, partially burned doll keeps appearing in random places.
However, that’s not the biggest issue for the couple. Their newborn Tanner refuses to sleep through the night, and nearby a construction company is busy at work being as loud as possible. This goes on for days, and both Alex and Penny are feeling the effects of no sleep. Alex is unable to get any work done, and Penny’s frustration with having to almost constantly watch Tanner is building. Add to that the fact that both have begun to catch sightings of a mysterious woman in and around the house. Neither admit they see the woman at first, but as the sightings continue it becomes too difficult to ignore it. The sleep deprivation gets worse, and Alex and Penny are at each others throats almost constantly. Will the mystery woman do away with Alex and Penny? Is she even real, or just a product of sleep deprived minds? And if she is real, will she even get a chance to do any real damage before Alex and Penny go too crazy and kill each other? Watch and see…..
Dark Circles had a couple of flaws, but overall I had a great time watching it. The acting by Johnathon Schaech (Alex) and Andrea Frankle (Penny) is excellent. As the sleepless days went on, the misery they went through was quite evident on their faces as well as their growing agitation towards each other and the added stress of seeing a strange woman who may or may not even be there. The fact that I really liked these characters made watching them go through all this harder.
The scares were a pleasant surprise to me. Most of the time I can easily predict when scares are coming, so I tend to not jump out of my seat when something happens. But Soter does the one thing that works for someone like me; in certain parts where normally I would expect a jump scare, there was nothing. And this happens multiple times, which threw me off enough that when something actually did happen I was unprepared for it and got a good scare. Not only that, but Soter didn’t go overboard with jump scares like so many movies do nowadays. For example there was a shot where the mystery woman slowly appears from the shadows, and it creeped me out way more than a jump scare could have. Kudos to Soter for that.
I think the most interesting part of all this is that, with the obvious exceptions of the strange woman popping up and the child endangerment, this is mostly based on true events. Paul Soter and his wife also had a baby and moved into a house in the country, where they had to contend with a newborn who didn’t let them sleep, and a nearby construction company making all sorts of noise during the day. I thought that was an interesting tidbit of information.
I have a bit of a problem now. There was one issue that I had with the whole thing, and it involves this woman Alex and Penny keep seeing. The problem is, I can’t really talk about said issue without giving too much away. It’s not a make or break issue in terms of my rating, but it just raised some questions regarding things that happen throughout the movie. You’ll have to see for yourself with this one. But one thing I can say is, do just that. Watch Dark Circles, because it’s still a good time, full of tension and anxiety, and I look forward to the next horror contribution from Paul Soter.
Macabre Rating: 3.5 out of 5 tombstones.