Vincent J. Guastini
Emilia Ares Zoryan
Casey James Knight
An anthology film that is connected via the concept of found footage.
After watching Galaxy Of Horrors the other week. I had mentioned how much I enjoy a solid anthology movie. I said we need even more of them. Coming across The Dark Tapes, I went in with no clue that this was, in fact, an anthology. I expected a movie about the discovery of snuff tapes in the vein of Sinister or 8MM. Instead, I was left a little surprised that I had come across another anthology movie. I was ready to dive right in and see what little gems I would find in this series of short films.
Looking at all the reviews for The Dark Tapes, it appears that the critics have loved it. I, myself, found the segments to be very hit and miss. Of the four segments, I found two of them to be entertaining while the other two actually bored me. One of the four segments is also edited in a way that it is split up, so it isn't just done and dusted. We have to continually return to it and see my least favourite of the four short films all the way through the film. It sort of kept bringing down the vibe of the film.
WRAPAROUND: The wraparound segment in The Dark Tapes is probably my least favourite wraparound segment that I can remember seeing in a horror anthology. It just wasn't all that much fun. While the second part of the wrap around segment is actually pretty entertaining as it goes to a weird place, the opening just isn't all that fun. Watching two annoying characters go around a playhouse and talk about finding blood wasn't all that interesting to me. It doesn't really serve the story all that much.
TO CATCH A DEMON: To Catch A Demon is my least favourite of the four segments. While the idea is pretty interesting, it just wasn't executed all that well. A doctor and his graduate student with the help of a cameraman try to do an experiment to bring forth a demon and try and trap it. The best thing about this segment is the demon. The demon is actually quite creepy and reminded me heavily of that 'Russian Sleep Experiment' story that you see all over the internet. Other than that, I wasn't a huge fan of the characters and to keep returning to it, just annoyed me.
THE HUNTERS AND THE HUNTED: This was my favourite of the segments. What begins as an almost identical 'Paranormal Activity' setup. A couple moves into a new house after the death of their young daughter and sense that their residence may be haunted. They hire a group of Paranormal Investigators and mayhem ensues. This was easily the most creepy of all the segments. I genuinely had chills. The twist at the end was what sold me. The twist was pretty clever, even if it has been used in other genre films. I had a great time with this segment.
CAM GIRLS: Cam Girls is the second segment that I enjoyed of the four. This was mainly based on the performance from Emilia Ares Zoryan. She plays a sympathetic cam girl who has a darker side. I liked that the segment builds towards something truly nasty. I enjoyed the build-up and thought that where it goes was actually pretty creepy. What I thought was going to be a short about a cam girl who is stalked or attacked subverts expectations and that worked for me. Easily the best acted of all four segments.
AMANDA'S REVENGE: Amanda's Revenge is probably the most socially timed of all four segments. With a lot of news stories of college women being raped and attacked and their perpetrators seeming to get off, this felt like the segment that will get the most conversation started. This fourth segment adds a Carrie like twist with a heap of revenge. While I enjoyed the performances, I just thought the segment didn't amount to all that much. They could have played this story less supernatural and more about revenge, and I would have enjoyed this a bit more.
The Dark Tapes is hit and miss when it comes to scares and suspense. The creepiest of the four segments is The Hunters And The Hunted. Sticking pretty closely to the whole Paranormal Activity formula, this was the most solid when it comes to thrills and chills. The twist only adds to that. The rest of the segments aren't all that scary. When it comes to the gore, the goriest of all the segments, Cam Girls is probably the most fun in terms of displaying the carnage with a couple of solid makeup effects.
DEATH TOLL: 5
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A man has a claw print burnt into his back.
- A woman's eyes are ripped out.
- A man is found dead in the shower.
- A man starts coughing up blood.
- A man cuts his own throat on webcam.
- A man is knocked out and seen bleeding from the head.
- A father and his daughter stab a man to death.
- A woman is seen chewing on a piece of gore.
- A man cuts his hand with a pocket knife.
- A man's head is pulled back to reveal huge neck wound.
The Dark Tapes is an anthology that is split down the middle for me. With four short films and a wraparound segment, I found myself only enjoying two of the four and disliking the wrap around. The two segments that I enjoyed were The Hunters And The Hunted and Cam Girls. Both add the most chills and gore to the mix. The other two segments were actually pretty dull. I recommend that people watch this if you're a fan of anthology films but don't expect a groundbreaking film like Creepshow.