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The Dark

Dark, The (1979) Movie Poster
  •  USA  •    •  92m  •    •  Directed by: John 'Bud' Cardos, Tobe Hooper.  •  Starring: William Devane, Cathy Lee Crosby, Richard Jaeckel, Keenan Wynn, Warren J. Kemmerling, Biff Elliot, Jacquelyn Hyde, Casey Kasem, Vivian Blaine, John Bloom, Bill Derringer, Jay Lawrence, Russ Marin.  •  Music by: Roger Kellaway.
      At night the Mangler stalks the streets of Los Angeles, killing and mutilating random victims. On the trail are a TV reporter, the father of one of the victims, and a police detective, but despite their efforts only the mysterious psychic DeRenzy knows what the killer is and how to stop it.

Trailers:

   Length:  Languages:  Subtitles:
 2:03
 
 
 0:27
 
 

Review:

Image from: Dark, The (1979)
Image from: Dark, The (1979)
Image from: Dark, The (1979)
Image from: Dark, The (1979)
Image from: Dark, The (1979)
Image from: Dark, The (1979)
Image from: Dark, The (1979)
Image from: Dark, The (1979)
Image from: Dark, The (1979)
For the most part a middling, under-developed crime thriller, THE DARK is a really disappointing film with a great premise. I mean, the idea of a decapitating alien killer stalking L.A. sounds like the perfect opportunity for lots of excitement, scares, cheesy special effects and gore. Well, we get the cheesy special effects all right (albeit briefly) but sadly none of those other things. THE DARK is happy to wade along through cliché-land, shafting genre fans by relying on boring police procedural work while the alien himself is relegated to the background, making almost a cameo appearance and getting very little screen time. I mean, if I wanted drama, romance and human intrigue, I'd watch a soap, not a dark thriller such as this!

This is a very odd film with a disjointed feel. I mean, it's firmly rooted in depressing reality until this ugly alien with laser eyes suddenly shows up. The alien is like some monster from STAR TREK or something and totally out of place. The investigation into the murders is intercut with some brief clips of people being zapped and exploded by the alien, which just isn't fair. The makeup itself is pretty good but the alien looks more like a Neanderthal than an extraterrestrial. And don't get me started on those laser eyes!

The acting here is pretty stolid and unremarkable, especially the usually reliable William Devane. Then again he is given absolutely nothing to do other than look brooding - and with his dark glasses and long hair, he looks rather silly. Cathy Lee Crosby is an irritating blonde reporter who deserves to die and expresses no charisma, while Keenan Wynn is wasted in a role which has no purpose. The policemen investigating the case also have no personalities, so everybody here is pretty interchangeable. When a policeman dies at the end of the film, we're obviously supposed to think "that's so sad" but the more realistic response is "we're supposed to care?". A mad clairvoyant character is also extremely grating and sadly she doesn't get her skull torn off.

Where this film does succeed is in the sudden, unexpected action-packed finale, which is everything a monster movie could wish to be. The alien takes on an entire police force, with bodies flying everywhere and all manner of chaos and destruction. It's excellent. If only the rest of the film could have been as exciting as this. Gorehounds need not apply either, as there are exactly three seconds of gore in this film (admittedly a very good bit of a decapitated corpse stumbling over). In the end, if you're looking for an "alien killer stalks L.A." type film, then PREDATOR 2 would be a safer and far more enjoyable bet.


Review by Leofwine_draca from the Internet Movie Database.