Plenty of filmmakers try to subvert standard horror tropes, but Justin P. Lange, the writer-director making his feature debut with The Dark, actually does a good job of it. The first shock comes within the first ten minutes, with a murderous twist on one of horror’s classic setups. But the biggest game-changer comes at about the 20 minute mark, completely altering not only the dynamic but who the (anti) hero is. This is when we meet Mina (Nadia Alexander), an undead teenage girl still scarred from the abuse that killed her. She encounters Alex (Toby Nichols), a teenage boy whose own trauma has left him blind. Their friendship soon racks up a body count as they flee into the woods in search of safety. Mina’s growing love for Alex literally humanizes her. It’s heavy stuff, but solid performances from both leads prevents The Dark from sinking.
NR • 1 hour 35 min • 2018