Sunday, November 8, 2015

Welcome Back, After Dark! (3 of 4): Murder In The Dark (2013)

Five years since their last batch, 2015 marks the return of 8 Films to Die For, now with a new partnership with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment! 

And making this return more special for me is the fact we got half of the line-up packed with interesting slashers, so, for this 4-part review, we will be looking at these new masked terrors bodycounting their way through the festivities that is After Dark Horrorfest 2015!

So without further delay, let's get hacking! This is...

Murder In The Dark (USA/Italy2013)
Rating ***
Starring: Luke Arnold, Phil Austin, Yann Bean

For a group of tourists, a trip to an ancient Turkish ruins should have been an experience worth remembering, may it be for the people they meet, the people they fall in love with, or for the little time to get away from their troubles back home. However, these people will soon discover that somebody out in these parts is preying on them, stealing organs from each victim they take. With their car sabotaged, they have no choice but to find ways to defend themselves from a madman who may or may not be among them.

Plot-wise, Murder In The Dark succeeds as murder thriller that took a lot of cues from the classic Agatha Christie whodunit novel Ten Little Indians such as total strangers being stranded at a very barren location, people getting murderous out of paranoia, and the fact that the killer is doing each victim away under a certain pattern.

Expect little of the usual slasher fodder then with this comparison in mind as the killings, nudity, cheese and many other exploitation elements are tamed down and offer, in turn, some practicable acting and worrisome tone thanks to its unique filming technique.

As an experiment, the actors were not given a full script to work with and instead had the plot (including its twists) relayed to them each day of the filming. With this, some of the acting are ad-libbed and the surprises on the script comes as shocking to them as they can be for the viewers, adding a sense of realism that pretty much worked well for the film’s dreading and uncertain atmosphere.

If anything of a slight flaw from this film, it would be that the reveal itself swerves a bit to the cheesy side and pretty much the very thing that justifies Murder In The Dark as a slasher. (Without spoiling lots, it involves a lot of mad science and a last act that simply threw away all sense of realism in favor of a snorty giggle. Not that it is a bad thing for me, mind you)

There’s also a matter of taste as anybody looking for a fast-paced bloody slasher can be fairly disappointed at the tension-driven approach of the film, and too those expecting a rather believable payoff to the mystery. Then again, a good substance of the movie still worked for me and I had a lot of fun watching it and anticipating the reveal. If you don’t mind a simplistic approach to your whodunit, Murder In The Dark can be a good addition to your viewing list.

1 female presumably killed, hand seen
1 female had her side cut open, disemboweled
1 female found dead with head and gut wound
1 female found dead with head and gut wound
1 male knifed on the neck
2 female seen dead with head and gut wounds
1 male found dead with gut wound
1 male dies from botched operation
1 female dies from poison
1 male seen with surgical wounds, presumably killed
1 male stabbed with a vial of poison, knifed on the chest
Total: 12

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