Since the director, Nick Reiner, recommended it, I spent the evening first finding All Dark Places in the bowels of Comcast’s On Demand menu and then watching it.
Let me answer the questions I know are on your mind.
1. Is it going to make your unabashed enjoyment of the Captain Morgan commercials a little more abashed? Yes. There are some things in this movie that you can’t unsee. It’s not the weird stuff or the creepy stuff. It’s that Josh Burrow’s character, Christian, is the kind of small douche you will recognize from college. He probably married your friend. Hopefully, by now, they are divorced. Perhaps you are related to him, in which case, I hope you don’t have to see him often. However you know him, you will recognize him. You will say, oh my god, how can this fucking Sigma Chi douche from Barrington have such a cool ancestor as Captain Morgan? Note: They never say Christian is a Sigma Chi douche from Barrington, but he’s obviously got some kind of similar backstory. He’s the kind of guy who has season tickets to the Cubs, so he thinks he’s not lying when he tells people he’s from Chicago. And he’s so angry because he never made it as a rock star, even though he has a lovely wife and an adorable kid and a good life and fine-ass shoulders.
2. Is it scary? Yes, but I would put it more in the category of a slow creep. It’s scary but you keep hoping that the bad guy will just start the inevitable because the suspense is killing you.
3. How’s the kid? I know you’re ashamed to even ask this question, but it’s cool. An independent film with a small cast and a kid who’s got to carry a lot of narrative weight? It could be terrible. But I thought the kid was really good. He had a natural rapport with the adults and he’s sufficiently creepy and sweet. And he seems like an actual kid.
I liked it. It looks a little low-budget, but, oddly, the world inside the movie didn’t feel low budget. The movie’s world seemed large and real. I don’t know. I can’t really explain it. But you know how some movies, like The Hamiltons (which I adore), start to feel like the characters aren’t out in their world as much as they should be, because the filmmakers couldn’t afford to put the actors out in our world? All Dark Places does not suffer from that.
And there are some really, really nice things. There’s great use of shadows–a couple of really nice shots from the exterior of the house where we see a hint of action that I thought was nicely scary. There are a lot of scenes where Christian’s pants are noticeably too big and he’s not wearing a belt, which really serves to subtly reinforce that he’s not very mature without making a big deal about it. And there’s this moment where Christian is in the van and Burrow’s face goes through this transformation that is the most purely terrifying moment in the film.
Lastly, I think I can say, without giving too much away that the clown both does the tradition of creepy fucking terrifying clowns good AND clowns the world over would probably rather you think of this guy than the clown from It.
Oh, and the therapist is awesome. But never, ever take acid like that without having a good supply of orange juice. He should have warned them about that.