A dreadful mishmash of horror and science fiction, The Dark manages to make the quest to capture an extraterrestrial serial killer uninteresting. When the movie begins, a mysterious figure murders several people, including the daughter of author/ex-con Roy Warner (William Devane). Preoccupied with grief—but not so preoccupied that he doesn’t make time to flirt with TV reporter Zoe Owens (Cathy Lee Crosby), who is in turn tries to exploit Roy for a hot story—Roy dogs grumpy police detective Dave Mooney (Richard Jaeckel), the cop assigned to find the killer. Eventually, the various characters gravitate toward a blowsy psychic named De Renzy (Jacqueline Hyde), who has somehow intuited that the killer is an alien, and that the alien is inexplicably tethered to an out-of-work actor and . . . Oh, who cares? The Dark is one of those incompetent movies that can’t figure out how to deliver plot elements effectively, so it compensates by stacking characters and twists atop each other, as if the volume of concepts will compensate for the fact that none of the concepts is interesting. Worse, the story structure of boring filler scenes punctuated by a trite murder sequence every 10 minutes or so is beyond perfunctory. About the only time the movie gets vibrant is during the gonzo climax, when a 10-foot-tall, shambling man-monster squares off with an army of cops, frying the policemen with laser beams shot from the monster’s eyes. However, since the movie’s special effects are mediocre—and since the acting is so lifeless it feels like the performers were handed their lines just before they walked on camera—the film’s only redeeming value is atmospheric widescreen cinematography that lives up to the title. Using a mixture of deep shadows and epic lens flares straight out of the John Carpenter playbook, John Arthur Morrill’s tasty images almost make The Dark worth watching. Almost.
The Dark: LAME