Review: The Dark Hours

Posted by Peter Hall - January 27th 2006 @ 11:37 pm

Directed by Paul Fox, 2005

Where was I in the late 90’s when the law was passed that says, “If you are making a psychological horror film said film’s conclusion must be that all of the film’s events were in the protagonist’s head?” I don’t remember getting to vote on this, but apparently it must be illegal to write a script these days that doesn’t have this bullshit ending because no one does it anymore. If you’re seeing something that is being sold as “psychological” you might as well expect this to happen without question.

This film is of no exception, apparently. I’m sorry if I just spoiled the ending, but you and I both know this is a movie you were never going to see anyway. Plus I’m sure the back of the DVD says its a “psychological horror” film, so you should have seen it coming anyway.

The Dark Hours sucks. Not because it is a horrible movie (it is a watchable and often times enjoyable movie), but because you really, really want it to go apeshit and it never does.

We learn within the first 5 minutes of the film that Kate has an inoperable brain tumor which should kill her within a year. She takes the weekend off and goes to her cabin in the woods to surprise her husband who went there to finish his book (and took Kate’s sister as an assistant). A little into the night a teenager, Adrian, shows up looking for a place to stay warm until his friends meet up wit him. They let him in and all goes well until he pulls out a gun and shoots the dog. Enter Harlan, an ex-patient of Kate’s and associate of Adrian who forces the trio to play the same mind games he had to play when he was in Kate’s psych ward.

These games have all the makings of being incredibly intense, but I guess this is just another case where the script isn’t as ambitious as my imagination. Harlan holding an axe, demanding that Kate decide what he cuts off of her younger sister is suspenseful, but unless you see that Harlan is crazy enough to chop off something, what’s the point? Eventually they start playing truth or dare and we learn that Kate had secretly been injecting Harlan in his cell late at night with an experimental drug designed to treat the type of tumor they share. This drug is what put Harlan into his coma. Kate then learns that Dave, her husband, and her sister Melody were having an affair. Harlan coaxes the anger out of Kate as we see her imagining them having sex passionately.

The film then reverts to when she first arrived at the cabin and we learn that what REALLY happened when Kate came to the cabin was that she came in on Dave on Melody getting it on and so she took the axe to the both of them. She proceeds to have an imaginary conversation with her dead husband and with Harlan, who explains to her that, “We all carry our ghosts around. He [Adrian] is mine, I’m yours.”

I like that statement. I actually think it is a good way of justifying why everything is in her head. But, the movie would have been far more enjoyable if everything we had seen leading up to it WAS real. If Harlan really was there wielding that axe like the badass he is. But, no. It’s cool, because its all just in her head. See how smart that is? She’s a psychiatrist, so, its…like…ironic that she’s the crazy one, right?

Sigh. It isn’t a horrible movie. It just has the makings of a much better movie.


rss 2 comments
  1. Brandyy
    May 8th, 2007 | 8:03 am | #1

    this movie is sweeeeettttt everyone should see it !!!!!!

  2. January 4th, 2008 | 2:42 pm | #2

    I knew it! I remember the first time I read a review of this one, the second I saw the line about the brain tumor, I knew everything that transpired would be nothing but the character’s imagination . . . .

    Sigh.

    J.N.

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