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Leif Jonker's Darkness

Posted: Sun Jun 18, 2006 6:52 pm
by Latte Thunder
This came out a couple of weeks back on Barrel Entertainment. Wondered if anyone else picked it up.

I was never really into the microbudget thing. I have very little tolerance for the unpolished product and in a lot of cases in this no-budget scene, the lack of money was hardly made up for with strong storytelling. As a matter of fact, most of the time, these movies were poor excuses for excessive bloodshed. Sometimes, that worked out in their favor. Such is the case with Darkness. Barrel would have you believe that this was some kind of cult movie holy grail. I spent a lot of time trading boots and I'd never heard of it, but that doesn't really mean much.

It's a story typical of no-budget movies. Vampires attack. A lone survivor armed with a shotgun takes them on with the aid of some other survivors.

The acting sucks, the film is overexposed and looks like Texas Chainsaw. I know, it sounds like I'm bitching a lot here, but this is actually a pretty good movie with a lot of nasty, bloody violence. Despite the lack of funds for pro lighting rigs, Jonker used practicals however he could. With the picture remastered and color levels boosted, the lighting has a tendency to be extreme in parts and in scenes relying on the natural light at night, the vampires suddenly emerge from the darkness as if it's a thick, tangible thing. It was unintentional, I'm sure, but works out pretty well. The camera work in some parts is something to speak of and it's a tight edit for an amateur production cut on a VHS deck. Some of the action is downright tense.

The dics is definitely up to Barrel standard. If you're familiar with this company, you might agree that they're the Criterion of cult movies. The two disc version of this movie comes with a commentary track of every single extra not to mention the requisite feature commentary. The second disc boasts the original cut of the movie, before it was remastered for DVD and all manner of promotional materials. It's about as complete as you get. It's definitely worth a look.

Posted: Sun Jun 18, 2006 9:52 pm
by Kimberly
Got it... haven't watched it yet...

It's been FOREVER since I watched the video tape of it...

Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 9:33 pm
by I am 138
Wow, I'm surprised you never heard of Darkness, Latte. I wouldn't think of it as a holy grail, but it was certainly talked about heavily for awhile there.

I agree with what you say about Barrel, and the film. I've got the disc, but haven't had time to check it out...it came with about 30 other DVDs...

Posted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 5:43 pm
by DylanDog
Agreed, this is one of the best amatuer horrors out there and I'm also surprised you hadn't seen it sooner. The only thing I didn't care for about it was that they seemed to want to do too much at the conclusion, special effects wise.

I didn't even realise Barrel was still putting stuff out. Still waiting on that Der Todesking disc......

Posted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 8:54 pm
by I am 138
Yeah, where is Der Todesking? We NEED that...

Here's a review I did for Darkness: http://www.digital-retribution.com/reviews/dvd/0448.php

Lief liked it, but wrote me a HUGE amount of corrections and explanations.

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 12:58 pm
by jga5000
I saw this a couple days ago, yeah it was pretty much an excuse to make gore (I don't remember much dialogue or plot haha) but this one knew how to make the gore interesting, that melting/exploding scene was like nothing I've ever seen before.