Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Dark Cove (2016) - Horror Film Review

I previously mentioned Canadian horror film Dark Cove in a news post just a few days back, but now I have had the pleasure of watching it. The film is not without it's faults, yet for me it became a much more entertaining film due to these issues. This follows the thematic flow of something very bad happening and the characters then having to deal with the consequences. Thankfully the film starts with the group dragging around a dead body and so I don't have to skirt around mentioning that specific turning point in the movie as it's clear from the off.

A group of five friends that includes their leader; Quinn (Rob Willey who also directed and co-wrote this) and perpetually horny Joey (Rob Abbate) head to the coast of Vancouver Island for a few days of partying. While there they befriend an English guy (with the weirdest accent ever) and his two Australian surfer mates and all seems to be going well. However as the introduction to the movie shows someone ends up dead and the mood turns from one of happiness to one of irritation for the gang.

For me there were two big issues that stopped Dark Cove being an effective thriller. First off is that the film takes a hell of a long time to get to the juicy parts. It is nearly 50 minutes into the 82 minute feature before anything remotely resembling horror occurs. I began to question if anything was actually going to happen at all, though we are treated to a genuinely heart warming sing-a-long that I felt obliged to join in with. Before this moment there is lots of character development for the group, and about their lives in general. There may be lack of thrills in this part but it wasn't boring, and in fact it was quite funny at times. The rest of the film gets much more exciting, but due to the way it plays out there isn't actually too much that takes place threat wise, just leads to more standing around talking. That brings me to the second big issue with Dark Cove; the sheer amount of exposition.

Near enough every character spiels huge amounts of over explanation for everything they do. We get one of the Australian characters over explaining that Australia isn't just outback. When an antagonist of sorts does appear we get sudden and huge over explanation for why he is like he is, we even get an over explanation for how the group are going to bury the body they end up with. This resulted in a script that often felt stilted and unnatural sounding, but with near enough every single character being this way it began to feel normal in the world of the film. There is a lot of commentary on social issues such as the worth of University degrees in the modern world, and on issues such as rape, with the group all seeming to agree quite rigidly on their beliefs. It's one thing to state a belief and another thing to stick resolutely to that belief in the face of adversity, yet that is what happens here. Without going to much into specifics this group of friends are a cold blooded lot and maybe a few of them are even sociopaths judging the amount of straight faced lies they can say, and the complete lack of remorse for their actions.

This is very much a character piece and on that note things improve a bit. Joey is the joker of the group and never ever shuts up with his innuendos and perverse outbursts. He should have been annoying yet his voice really really reminded me of someone I used to know, and from my hazy recollection must have liked despite having no idea who that person was. Plus he has the funniest moment when he is shown in a flashback having a bad magic mushroom trip. Stand out character for me though was the Australian Chase (Ty Stokoe), he looks like a brick wall made human and I mistakenly assumed after watching the trailer that he would be the catalyst for the horror. Yet his actions are very understandable, in a Shakespeare type of way he was very very justified in what he does, plus his long speech, (full of exposition on what he is going to do to the group) and his great hulking out moment made him awesome, I was laughing out loud with how psyched up he was getting, he felt like a Marvel comic bad guy.

For a film with a low budget it is good that look wise this doesn't seem amateur, and the acting really isn't that bad at all mostly. I did get confused with the tone though, I just couldn't work out if this was meant to be a black comedy or not. Elements such as the bad trip flashback made me think that maybe it was, it would explain the weird character reactions at times. Overall I did enjoy my time with Dark Cove, I just think it did spend far too much time to really get going. Dark Cove is now available to rent or buy on Digital platforms in Ireland and the U.K after previously only being out in North America.


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