The Dark Place Movie Review
Written by Karin Crighton
Released by Breaking Glass Pictures
Written and directed by Jody Wheeler
2014, 87 minutes, Not Rated
DVD released on December 2nd, 2014
Blaise Embry as Keegan Dark
Timo Descamps as Wil Roelen
Sean Paul Lockhart as Jake Bishop
Andy Copeland as Adrian Bishop
Keegan Dark is the worst person you know. Unbearably narcissistic, we are expected to love him as a tormented genius, but he is in fact completely unloveable. Withholding from his sweet boyfriend, a financial and emotional leech on his mother, and bafflingly violent to his new stepbrother and stepfather hours after meeting them, Keegan has no redeeming value. Feeble attempts to give him survivor's guilt over his family's death are made, but Keegan overpowers them with his bitterness and negativity. Moreover, Keegan believes his new stepfather and brother are planning to kill his mother to take control of her profitable vineyard before she can take the stock public. But with the whole town against him after years of trouble, saving her life might be impossible.
I wanted to like The Dark Place, I really did. It's a solid premise and highly plausible. But the plot is so quickly bogged down under dreadful characters and telenovela acting, it's like having a tooth pulled to sit through the entire film.
Blaise Embry is unwatchable as Keegan Dark. His morose and brooding portrayal is absent of any joy or excitement, nothing to turn on the viewer and make them pleased to watch him. Keegan’s long-suffering boyfriend Wil is played by Timo Descamps. Wil has a penchant of “fixing things”, but the one thing he can't fix is Keegan. (womp womp). The role is bland and petulant and Descamps can't revive it. Sean Paul Lockhart is creepy and smarmy as Jake, giving away the ending long before we should know what's really going on behind the façade of a happy blended family.
The plot itself is a decent balance of thriller and drama. The danger and threat make perfect sense (despite that Keegan acts out against Jake before we even know Jake's a bad seed). When Keegan finally understands that he's alone because of his own actions, it’s the strongest scene of the whole movie, and raw, honest work on Embry's part, but it's just too late. There's a beautiful sequence where Keegan's childhood friend (who he betrayed) is demanding to know why Keegan came home at all and the scene flips back and forth between the defining moment of his childhood and his present. Nice directing and editing work there.
Unfortunately, due to the weak directing, melodramatic acting, and indulgent writing in the rest of The Dark Place, these good moments are lost. It ends up being a movie with a bunch of pretty young actors screwing each other and trying hard to be sexy but just being pathetic.
The Dark Place is unsalvageable. You know what's a fun movie about wine? Bottle Shock. Chris Pine in a long blond wig. And Bill Pullman! Watch that instead.