Karisse (Gabrielle Graham) challenges Priestess Clarity (Christine Horne) on her pronouncements about Darken. It's not immediate death and peril if you leave this dark, grimy desolate place but instead, there is sunlight, water, and trees. Clarity banishes her with a parting gift sending Karisse into the unknown into the light to the horror of her partner Taro (Jon McLaren). Upon the wounded
Karisse wonders Eve (Bea Santos) a nurse suffering from guilt over patients she cannot save. She renders assistance then upon hearing that there are others behind a door of an apparent abandoned building enters only to have the door lock behind her sealing her in.
Audrey Cummings helms a piece that is centered in a parallel labyrinth full of chambers, crawl spaces and tunnels. The exits aren't evident but lead to multiple alternate worlds depending on when you step through. The citizens are split between disciples who are loyal to Clarity and devoted to the creator Mother Darken and outliers forced to hide in the shadows who question Clarity's reign. As Eve explores deeper into the world she encounters Kali forcefully portrayed by Olunike Adeliyi and mute Mercy (Zoe Belkin) who introduce her to the exiles plight.
The desire to be free from a despotic leader is a theme that's permitted society and films for generations. The fear disseminated by these regimes keep their populations in place afraid to venture into the unknown or rising up due to openly advertised consequences. Survival and escape are the driving forces of the exiles. They struggle to tell what is truth versus fiction about Mother Darken and if they and disciples receive the true message from the creator as everything funnels through Clarity.
Darken is a hopeful story despite the pain and suffering endured by a good portion of its people. The citizens struggle with the dark dangerous environment run by an iron-fisted despot with some being more intuitive than others. However, when a crucial moment faces the devotees their decision is one that strengthens the viewer's faith in humanity.
*** Out of 4.
Darken | Audrey Cummings | Canada | 2017 | 85 Minutes.
Tags: Dystopian, Disciples, Sanctuary, Outsider, The Keeper, Haven, Exiles, Key, Doorway, The Light.