I’ve got to admit something, I’ve always been leery of anthologies. If we’re being honest here, most of them are just not very good. You have badly written short stories, terrible hammy acting, and twists that a person stuck inside a Fulci film could see. So it’s nice to see an anthology that for the most part stays away from those kinds of tropes in the Dark Tapes.
The film starts off with two folks wondering where their friend is. They keep calling but they get the dreaded voicemail. This leads into the wraparound story “To Catch A Demon”. While it took me a few minutes to get what the story is about, I did enjoy it. The demon makeup was really well done, and the story was interesting, with it playing into the beginning nicely.
Next up is “The Hunters and the Hunted”. A couple move into a nice home, only for weird stuff to start happening fairly quickly. Out of options, the couple enlists a paranormal group to try to get rid of the evil being. At first this was looking to be some sort of Paranormal Activity clone, because there’s always people in those that I hope to see die, but refreshingly turned out not to be the case.
The next story is called “Cam Girls”, about a lucky guy getting a free cam show from the girl of his dreams…or is he UNlucky!? Every anthology has a weak link, yes even Creepshow. Remember the segment with Stephen King playing a mossman yokel? Well this story is the weak link in this film. While I always appreciate trying to use different ways to tell a story (such as this being entirely during a video chat), the story itself is majorly weak. The actors were fine (I really liked the “lucky” winner of the cam show), and the special effects were extraordinarily good, but the plot was barely there. There’s an explanation, but by then too little too late.
The last story is called “Amanda’s Revenge”. The story about a young woman who after a particularly bad night, starts acting strangely. I liked the actors in this, in particular the lady playing Amanda. It’s refreshing to have a story where the people are actually likable. I noticed a nice little tribute to Nosferatu in there as well, which is always a plus.
Overall I really liked this film. Director Michael McQuown’s vision was original, The cinematography was great, the special effects were incredibly effective, and I liked how everything was linked together. Again, there were a couple of lackluster actors, and the “Cam Girls” story should have been rethought, but the positives far outweigh the negatives. I can see why this movie won so many awards on the festival circuit.
The movie is currently out on VOD on all available formats like Google Play, Vudu, iNDemand (Comcast- Xfinity, Time Warner, Cox, Bright House & more), Dish TV, Amazon, Vubiquity (Verizon Fios, Charter, Sudden Link, Media Com &more), Xbox, Playstation, Sling TV & Vimeo.
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