The zombie world has evolved greatly since Georgio Romero's original Night of the Living Dead. The creatures have moved far from their original slow lumbering origins to occupy every genre of film from comedy to romance. Therefore to find new territory in the space takes some doing which Justin P. Lange may have achieved with his initial feature. Lang has a basic premise, there is a monster in the woods so don't go into the woods. But his film has a deeper underlying message that there are monsters everywhere the most horrific of which abuse children. Alex (Toby Nichols) and Mina (Nadia Alexander) are thrown together by a twist of fate needing to fend for each other as adults and the authorities close in on their location.
The makeup team lead by Zane Knisley deserve prominent recognition for their work. The audience looks at Mina and Alex on screen for the majority of the film. Both have severe facial scars that the audience has to buy to make the production work. But despite their physical appearances working in the background is the realization that the pair have way deeper scars on the inside from their past abuses.
Nadia Alexander as Mina starts out with a strong armor, not letting anyone in. Those who happen to wander into her territory are dispatched quickly in a very violent manner. One of these souls had Toby Nichol's Alex hidden in the back of their vehicle. Alexander's Nina evolves as she turns from executioner to protector for someone she sees that has suffered more than herself in turn both her inner and outer wounds begin to heal as well.
The Dark is a horror film that is long on practically over the current trend of post-production effects. The soundtrack is minimal instead the production uses background natural sounds or silence to create tension and suspense. Director Justin P. Lange supported by superior work by his make up team bring the Zombie genre to a totally new direction. We see events from Mina's point of view as the monster turns protector to a teenage boy more helpless and vulnerable than herself.
*** 1/2 Out of Four.
The Dark | Justin P. Lange | Austria | 2018 | 95 Minutes.
Tags: Zombie, The Woods, Kidnapped, Child Molestation, Alcoholic, Soup, Healing, Car Accident, Axe.