Well, here we are again. Today I’m reviewing the first found-footage style movie I’ve watched in a little while. While there are a few FF movies that aren’t so great, I’ve always been a fan of the style overall. Darkest Night was just released last month, so I took it upon myself to see how it fares. With a budget of approximately 125k, and filmed in the Philippines, it sounded like it had potential. Let’s get to it, shall we?
On Christmas Day in the Philippines, Susan brings her fiancee Ken to her parents house to celebrate Christmas and to announce their engagement. Ken is nervous but it’s for no good reason, as the large family welcomes him without any drama. After some time getting acquainted with the family and the family catching up, they all sit down to eat.
After the meal is done, and they are sitting around talking, things start to go downhill. There is a power outage all through the house, including cell phones. not even anyone’s vehicles will start. The only electronic thing that works is the lone video camera used by autistic teen Justin. Who incidentally is a better camera operator than many you see making movies today.
After one of the family members disappears in the nearby woods while investigating odd sounds heard, a search party is quickly organized, led by the patriarch of the family. This proves to be a disaster, as said patriarch is later found dead and other party members are now missing as well. As time goes on, and more people disappear, it’s up to the remaining people in the house to discover what is happening and what, if anything, can be done about it.
Well, I can safely say that I don’t have to worry about dropping spoilers for this one, as the movie flat-out tells you what happens to the family right away in text form, similar to movies like Blair Witch Project. Then we get the fine details a la video. Normally I don’t want to know what happens to people until it gets to that point in the movie, but I understand that found footage flicks are a bit of a different story than your normal style of movie. Anyway, now I’ll let you know what I thought.
Darkest Night had some good qualities to it. I liked the acting from everyone. They seemed like a genuine family you might meet anywhere, with their own little quirks and personalities. I felt a little sad when bad things happened to them and saw the reactions from the rest of the family. I liked the setting as well. It was a large, beautiful looking home. And I thought the story itself was quite interesting, and I was eager to discover what caused all the mayhem that happened.
There were a few things that bothered me though. For one thing, I didn’t like that there was only one camera being used. There were about 17 people in this house, and that’s way too many people for one camera. Which then leads into how a few things that happened either happened off-screen or the camera wasn’t focused on the right part of a room where something happened. Granted, realistically an autistic teenager working the only camera there is going to miss some things that happen. But that kind of realism isn’t good when I want to see what happens to people. Personally, I would have liked it if someone else had a second camera shooting things elsewhere, or have the movie not shot as found footage period.
There was also music here and there which I don’t usually like in a found footage movie. And in DN that included a violin piece that was repeated many times. It’s the kind where you might normally expect something to happen after the violins stop, but in this case that was only true maybe half the time.
In my opinion though, the good outweighs the bad. While it may not be the best thing you’ll see this year, I can guarantee there’s much worse out there. So if you’re a found footage fan and like convincing acting, I recommend you at least check it out. What have you got to lose, besides approx. 100 minutes of your time? Until next time, rest in peace.
Macabre Rating: 3 out of 5 tombstones.
P.S. for those of you who might have missed it, check out my post about my rating system, and what the tombstones mean in terms of movie quality.