The Horror Honeys: Pray for Dawn...

Pray for Dawn...

A Supernatural Honey Review from Suzanne

From the Dark (2014)

On the whole, 2015 has been a virtual pit of despair when it comes to supernatural films. Sure, there have been a couple of gems, but as I’ve recently told our lovely Head Honey, I feel as though I write about the same movie each week as they’ve all started to blend together. It’s like eating the same bland, overcooked casserole every night for weeks. However, I was fortunate enough to stumble on an indie Irish film this week that didn’t give me indigestion. This is somewhat surprising considering the overwhelmingly negative reviews From the Dark has received on IMDb, but I’ve never been one to follow the masses. 

Mark and Sarah (Stephen Cromwell and Niamh Algar) drive through the Irish countryside for a weekend away. When they get stuck and seek help at a local farm, they find themselves in a fight for survival against an ancient vampire-like creature who the farmer inadvertently released from its peat bog grave. 

Of course, all of this nonsense could have been avoided if Mark hadn’t been such a douche-canoe and just listened to Sarah when it came to directions and getting un-stuck. Then again, if he had, there would be no story.

These are the kind of things that happen when YOU DON'T LISTEN!
I should start by saying there is nothing in this film that is truly original or groundbreaking. The twenty-somethings having car trouble in the middle of nowhere, only to be met with a creature, a serial killer or a cannibal, has been done to DEATH. From the Dark is also full of plot holes and unfulfilled story lines. We have no idea where the creature came from or even what it is. We make the assumption it’s a vampire because of the stake the farmer removes from the body, setting it free, and that its bite causes victims to turn (rather quickly). We never even get much more than a glimpse of the thing throughout the entire film. This creature is afraid and in danger of light. I’m not just talking sunlight here; candlelight, desk lamps, flashlights, matches, etc. Unfortunately, we don’t know why or how Sarah instinctively knows this tidbit of info, which she attempts to use to their advantage, although I’m not entirely sure why she didn’t have the forethought to use any of the pointy farm tools of which there was an abundance.

Look out! It's a... something? If you squint... Willem Defoe maybe?
So, yes, there are some big problems with this film, but it does a few big things right. The first is atmosphere. Anytime you film something in the lush Irish countryside, particularly at night, you’re cooking with gas. The isolation, the long night, and the virtually impossible terrain all add up nicely. As I mentioned previously, we don’t really see the creature clearly. That’s a tad frustrating, but it also works on many levels. It tends to blend into the background until you see it creeping out of the corner of your eye, which isn’t scary, but you feel the sense of dread and unease.

Finally, and most importantly, is Sarah. She is a kick-ass final girl. The film is light on dialogue, particularly in the third act, so actress Niamh Algar has to work a little harder to earn her heroine status. She starts out as a bit of a smart-ass, dressed all in white, to a bloody, mud covered vampire slayer. Considering what she was given to work with, I appreciate her not totally phoning in her performance, standing around, screaming and crying, like most of the girls we’re accustomed to. She reminded me a bit of Amy Steele in F13 Part 2.

The hallmark of a Final Girl: FUBAR
From the Dark is not going to reinvent or rejuvenate the vampire genre, but it’s certainly not going to “Twilight” it. It’s a low-budget film that has been shown around the film festival circuit for the last year, with no theatrical release. As with most indie films out of the UK or Ireland, it isn’t filled with special effects and, rather, relies on mood and characters to get its point across. Sadly, it only fulfills one of these well, but it didn’t leave me pissed off because I sat through the whole thing. 

From the Dark is available for streaming on Netflix and Amazon right now.

Supernatural Honey verdict: 3 useless boyfriends out of 5

Have YOU seen From the Dark?
Let's talk about it on Twitter: @suzebee04