So after speaking to Bianca Kajlich and Kevin Durand during the premiere it was safe to say my words in regards to the review would be extremely positive. Me and Kevin had a great chat about how his very ‘bad guy’ type cast role has been flipped on its head during Dark Was the Night, with him finally plays a good guy in this role. Our lovely conversation with Bianca was more of a, yeah I’m from the UK, do you like my accent conversation ! Never the less Dark Was the Night was a very suprising film for me and i’ll tell you why.
A long slumbering evil is awoken in the trees, outside the remote town of Maiden Woods. Isolated and threatened it sets its sites on the townspeople, as Sheriff Paul Shields (Kevin Durand) attempts to overcome the demons of his past, so that he may protect those that he loves.
Now from the Synopsis above the story is simple, there is something out in Maiden Woods that is killing off things one by one and puts Sheriff Paul Shields (Durand) in charge of sorting this problem out, whether the thing lurking in the woods is an animal, beast or supernatural force is unknown until the very last scene.
Kevin Durand puts in an outstanding performance as Paul Shields, the character had lost his son in a tragic accent and since that day has always blamed himself for the death. Paul’s character is lost, down and out and fed up with life but carries on through all the self hate, the problems the memories of the past.
As the story develops and cattle are being picked off one by one the mysterious creature starts to target humans within the small town. Strange tracks are discovered throughout the town centre that resemble nothing of human origin. For me and I may be looking too much into this but the film is very deep in terms of its meanings and explanations. For me personally there is a specific scene where the beasts tracks are followed into the woods for them to stop suddenly, this for me reflected the steps that Paul’s character is taking to get over the grief of his deceased son for it to be stopped in its tracks, almost like a wall stopping him from moving on forward with his life. In addition to this the creature itself seemed like a metaphor for Paul battling his own personal demons and when questioning the cast about this in the Q&A both Kevin and Director Jack Heller confirmed that to be true. Whether the foot prints idea was true or not remains to be seen.
It was a very deep emotionally driven movie, the climax did maybe pass into a more cheesy sort of visual but never the less, for me it didn’t matter what this thing was as the motives and the characters emotional trauma was physically being represented in a creature and I thought that was a very powerful piece of film.
Bianca Kajlich plays the beautiful Susan Sheilds, Paul’s ex wife of whom they were driven apart after the loss of their son, their relationship is subtle to start but develops nicely over the films runtime, maybe a little rushed at the end but hey I’m not complaining, they have a schedule to stick too.
Another wonderful addition to Screamfest, great cinematography, fine performances from the leading man and lady and full credit to Jack and the team for pulling off a creature feature that has some deep emotion running through its veins. A strong piece of cinema and a joy to watch.