Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Dark Lurking (Australia, 2010)

Been there, done that.
Watching films like this give me the feeling that perhaps it is time to stop wasting my life. Really, how do some films ever get financed? Are those involved never ashamed for what they create? Is it not embarrassing for them to regurgitate their total lack of creativity on the screen for all the world to see? If there is one good thing about The Dark Lurking, it is that the flick is so fucking bad (in a bad way) that it could well ensure that those involved – and in particular first-time director Gregory Connors, who also is the blame for having "written" the thing – never again make another film. Let us pray.
The DVD cover is endemic of the film itself: Hey, let's just simply sell our turd using Geiger's Alien monster as the selling point. Not that the film has all that much to do with Alien (1979 / trailer) – aside from a certain love of air shafts, that is – but considering how unoriginal the whole film is, it is hardly surprising that even the packaging steals from elsewhere. The Dark Lurking owes a lot more to Resident Evil (2002 / trailer) or even the fun cheapie Alien Lockdown (2004 / trailer), both of which are indefinitely better and much more entertaining films – which says a lot, especially if you're one of the half-dozen people in the world that have bothered to watch Alien Lockdown. Alien Lockdown itself stole from other films, but at least it was cheaply fun and funny and good for a laugh; The Dark Lurking isn't really good for anything. True, the ooze and slime and guts do go a-flying, but that gets boring real quickly as there is nothing else of interest in the film.
So, what happens? Well, deep underground at Research Station 320 something has gone wrong. The experiment has gone out of control and the now locked-down research facilities is overrun by a mass of blood-thirsty mutant monsters that kill and eat every human in their path, who then also turn into blood-thirsty mutant monsters. Pretty thing Lena (Tonia Renee) wakes up naked and without her memory, and before long she joins a rag-tag group of survivors (consisting of various facility personnel and some mercenaries) trying to survive. They go down some flights and then go up some flights and go through a lot of air shafts and there's fog and ooze and bullets and blood and (once too often) total visual incoherence but no real plot to speak of. The number dwindles one by one and the truth is revealed: the lab was trying to clone evil (!) itself from an evil book (!!) and all them critters out there are a part of the great evil clone – Lena!!!! But like the one mercenary says to her close to the end: "You can change." (Tell that to a Republican, whydonchya?)
The ooze and guts are top notch, the cropped-together story an incoherent and ridiculous car wreck of a thread pretending to be a narrative, the direction sub-film school and lost on the editing table, and the acting almost universally sub-standard (Ozzie Devrish as Kirkland, a sub-intelligent mercenary who loses his life to leg-eating, slimy tagliatelle is probably the best actor of the film). But worst of all, The Dark Lurking is one of those films that causes time to come to a standstill: dunno how long the film actually is, but it went on forever.

The ending of the film is nicely depressing and dark and (for the first time) mildly surprising, providing you haven't fallen asleep and actually catch it, but by then it is much too late and too little to redeem the movie in any way. The Dark Lurking is a film for only the most undemanding and brainless action junkies who are willing to watch anything for a fix.


Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention flashing amber lights in the shafts lol !

Anonymous said...

Let me elaborate the situation here, this film wasn't funded by investors it was funded by the producers/director of the film on a sub min cost of $180,000 not millions that many i have seen are allot worse. So obviously if the investors were involved it would have a better cast and crew which would make any movie better quality.

The title is not from the production company that shows as Aliens and many other names that the pirates on the black market have given, also A list names have been added on the cover all to get sales for the film that i have seen sold in China on the black market.

I agree the story is boring and typical but it was an exercise from the US after a short film they did that got recognition asking if they can do a feature and hence The Dark Lurking was created !

So lets judge it on the minuscule budget and praise that someone is trying to make films stead of waiting around winging the industry is quite specially where it was filmed "Downunder Australia"

And i agree Ozzie Devrish is a very good actor that i have seen him do allot better than this film with bigger productions his been in. what's the saying ? you pay peanuts (or in this case nothing) you get monkeys !

Abraham said...

OK, we accept your position, sorta. DL's birth sounds similar to that of 8-Legged Freaks, but with less commitment from everyone involved. (Although we're not sure, since first you say the filmmaker funded it, and then you say that the US [as funders?] called the shots.) The desire to get something done leads to strange bedfellows, and perhaps it is better to make crap than to simply stand around and waiting for, dunno, something to happen – but we would disagree that just because you pay peanuts you get monkeys. While one can argue about what is a good film or a bad film, it is harder to argue about what is a creative film. Coffy (1973) cost peanuts, Spider Baby (1968) cost peanuts, Wheels (1999) cost peanuts, Detour (1945) cost peanuts, Another World (2011) cost peanuts, Ed Gein (2000) cost peanuts, Henry (1986) cost peanuts, The Locals (2003) cost peanuts, Evil Dead cost peanuts – not to mention the original Chainsaw, Halloween, Friday the 13th and Evil Dead films. A big budget, without a vision and at least some brains, is no guarantee of a good film – Prometheus, anyone? We've seen many a worse films than DL – hell, we love bad films – but many a worse film was also much more entertaining. Maybe in twenty years one can say "DL, almost as entertaining as Plan 9", but that day is still a long way away, so until then we reiterate: "Avoid Avoid! Aviod!"

Anonymous said...

The US never funded TDL, they wanted to see if the Director after well written reviews of his previous film being a short as mentioned, was good enough to make a feature, then fund other films he had or direct what they had?
I agree the story was nothing but a copy and can be seen when actors try to do an accent when it's not written for its origin !
Let's compare the films done on $$$ peanuts you gave as an example, did you explain the quality of the actors,directors,experience of all involved & how many of shown on imdb ? Actors/directors/crew with worthy credit WILL attract investors , help with marketing, and get gate entry's in. TDL only had a hand full with near no experience & a first feature. Also let's not forget the budget to get the quality actors and better script writers, even for peanuts they WERE ALL funded , not deferred as TDL which means no money at all to cast & crew. Would these films you mentioned have the quality/quantity if offered deferred ONLY ? I don't think so. The first film you mentioned Coffy cost $500,000 in the year of what you say 1973 ! Even you know in this day and age that would be approx 10 times more now which would make it around $5 million! a big difference of $180,000 converted to 1973 be $18,000! So maybe next time you critic a film ( by way I see none! ) you will consider & understand these conditions, and get facts before you comment on first timers trying to make something, learn and help us all continue to make films for all to watch, not have negative output ONLY !
Avoid Avoid Avoid this review !

Abraham said...

We would advise in the future to take two deep breaths and calm down before venting your spleen; as it is now, your email is so, well, emotional that it is about as comprehensible as the plot to "The Dark Lurking" (or, as it has now been desperately re-titled "Alien vs Zombies: The Dark Lurking"). But to respond to what I think you say: if the director's first film was good, great! But his second wasn't, and I guess he didn't pass the test 'cause he sure ain't done anything since. We couldn't decipher your funding argument, but sorry, we don't think that just because someone may have no prior imdb credits we have to say "Oh what a nice film" when the film is mega-crappy. We're not sure what accents have to do with originality, so we'll skip that but regardless of the lack of experience or money, if all you're going to do is regurgitate the concepts of others in a dull and half-baked production, you gotta expect it to be called what it is: uncreative, crappy and a waste of time. We're not good enough at math to do all that adjust-the-dollars from '73 to '13, but we do find the concept of a 1970s 5-million-dollar Roger Corman film a bit of an oxymoron, and if "Alien Lockdown" or "Spider Baby" or "Detour" cost that much to make when dollar-adjusted, we no longer like any of them. Hell, we have no idea how much money was wasted on "DL"— it was obviously spent on special effects and nothing else — but perhaps you should do a cost conversion for films evidencing an equal professionalism to that of "Dark Lurking" but that are nevertheless better: any given HL Lewis movie, for example, or the original "The Little Shop of Horrors", or "The Brain that Wouldn't Die". (Who knows, maybe with the patina of 30 years, "DL" might become another "BTWD" [which is actually better than Plan 9].) No, we will not smile and say "What a good movie you are" just because those involved are all novices; for that, there is too little originality in the movie — and originality has nothing to do with money. "DL" is bad, and no one involved is gonna learn anything if everyone pretends otherwise... but if it makes you happy, we're quite willing to say "A for effort, F for execution." With the addendum: "Avoid Avoid Avoid this movie !"

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