The Story: A small town in the northeastern logging region is haunted by a legendary Native American monster.
Expectations: This one sounded a lot like John Frankenheimer’s PROPHECY (1979). I decided to watch it anyway.
The film is directed by Jack Heller, who produced BONE TOMAHAWK, which I loved. Heller also directed a little film called ENTER NOWHERE, which had a really intriguing premise but (as advertised) went nowhere. The leads are Kevin Durand, a reliable character actor, and Lukas Haas, who I remember as the little kid in LADY IN WHITE. That film that made a big impression on me during one of my very first Halloween night movie marathons.
Reaction: Not much.
I don’t want to be too hard on this movie, because I honestly didn’t hate it. I just didn’t like it. It’s an old-fashioned monster movie that trots out the usual clichés: a prologue setting up the threat (which we don’t actually see), a world-weary hero in need of redemption, speculations about a local legend, a third-act siege scenario, a “twist” ending, etc. It’s Modern Horror 101. Which is fine. I recognize that horror movies are usually full of clichés…. but when you’ve seen as many horror movies as I have, clichés need to be delivered with a certain amount of panache, or I just can’t get invested. DARK WAS THE NIGHT was too predictable to be scary, and too dour / lethargic to be fun. The digital monster at the end didn’t help. It made me wish I had watched PUMPKINHEAD instead.