Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Dusk: A Dark Night of the Soul Keeps Getting Darker
Whitmore might just lose his wife and his sanity in the same terrible night.
Anne Whitmore has been abducted by a kidnapper who somehow knows exactly how
much cash is in their safe and always stays one step ahead. To further
complicate matters, Whitmore starts experiencing sinister hallucinations and temporary
blackouts. It is like Along Came a Spider
occasionally punctuated by outbursts of Mulholland
Drive, which is a highly uncomfortable place for Whitmore. The distraught
husband will have a miserable night, but at least you could say he has a
hard-stop at midnight in Michael Maney’s Dusk
now available on DVD from Monarch Home Entertainment.
a rather alarming nightmare, Whitmore wakes up to find Anne missing and a
cassette tape telling him to bring the exact amount of cash in his safe to his
cabin way-the-heck-and-gone in the woods by midnight precisely. At least the
shadowy mastermind arranged a ride for him. David is gruff and erratic, but he
knows nothing of the abduction. He is also inexplicably devoted to the kidnapper,
so Whitmore is advised not to provoke him.
is definitely what you might call terse, but he does not object when Whitmore
calls on his best friend Sam Rigsby to watch his back. However, while riding in
the back of David’s crummy old camper, Whitmore starts to suspect his pal might
be in on it from the fragments of memory and macabre visions that keep up-ending
Dusk’s ultimate twist is
not exactly unprecedented, but it is rather surprising to find it jumping out
at us in such a darkly ominous film. Yet, Maney pulls it off, employing
misdirection worthy of a master magician. It seems to hold together after the
big shoe drops, tempting viewers to re-watch everything in light of the
game-changing reveal (which they can easily do, now that the film is on DVD).
Whitmore, John McGlothlin is convincingly desperate and clueless. If anything,
he seems more in the dark than the audience when it comes to the murky business
afoot, which is maybe slightly problematic. However, Ford D’Aprix slow burns
with charismatic surliness. He is definitely the film’s wild card, in a good
way. Todd Litzinger is also weirdly effective as good old Rigsby. In contrast,
Juliana Harkavy does not have a lot of fun stuff to do as Anne Whitmore, but
nobody ever said playing a kidnapping victim was a bed of roses.
For a horror film, the human element is
unusually pronounced in Dusk.
Frankly, genre labels are rather slippery when applied to Maney’s film, but it
is certainly packaged like horror and often feels that way too. It is very
dark, but it is not nihilistic—and that definitely sets it apart from the
field. Recommended for horror/psycho-thriller/Lynchian mind-trip fans, Dusk releases today on DVD and iTunes.
Labels: DVD, Horror Movies