A new found footage anthology The Dark Tapes finds itself fighting for attention a it looks for distribution in a crowded genre marketplace. However it has a few aces up its sleeve not the least of which is a solid script written by Michael McQuown who’s credits include a romantic comedy starring Hillary duff and Heather Locklear, (The Perfect Man) and the award winning Serbian War documentary Calling the Ghosts.
The wraparound segment or Dark Tape 01 is called To Catch a Demon and involves the use of a super slow motion camera to capture footage of a demon that haunts sleepers. This is told in segments intercut with the rest of the stories. It manages to go in some unexpected directions and the entity itself is creepy looking.
Dark Tape 02 The Hunters and The Hunted involve a family who call in ghost hunters to help when their new house shows signs of being haunted. But the problem may be a lot worse than ghosts. This one pulls off a twist at the end and finishes on a distinctly chilling note.
Dark Tape 03, Cam Girls may stray the closest to cliché territory with it’s story of internet peep shows that deliver a lot more than the viewer bargained for. It adds a novel element in one of the girls suffering blackouts and not being aware of the role she’s playing but it’s nothing really new even if it is done very well.
Amanda’s Revenge is Dark Tape 04 and concerns a woman who suffers nightly abductions by entities that can elude modern recording devices. She uses a spring wound 8mm camera and wax recording device in a last ditch effort to prove she’s not crazy. This one also makes the most use of effects including some fairly good CGI.
The script is well thought through and the stories make sense, something the found footage genre consistently has issues with. It’s not perfect, as noted the third story isn’t overly original and the fourth never fully develops all of the ideas it raises, indeed it could have been a film on it’s own. But the stories still deliver which is what matters in the end. The script also could have tied things together better, there’s no real connection between the stories or reason why they’re referred to as The dark Tapes but that’s a minor annoyance.
Filmed by a crew of five people including the writer and directors The Dark Tapes is a great example of what can be done by talented people who understand how to work with a limited budget. Working with a cast that includes Cortney Palm (Sushi Girl, Zombeavers), Emilia Ares Zoryan (V/H/S: Viral) and David Rountree (Staunton Hill) the resulting film has won an impressive list of awards on the festival circuit for everything from acting to script, effects and overall film. And it deserves them.
The film makers see this as a the start of a yearly anthology series or even a television show, (for cale hopefully) along the lines of The Twilight Zone. If they can keep the level of quality up either would be a welcome development.
Official Site: http://thedarktapes.com
Trailers, one for each story: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgNUwjyuA3hv_fjpNHzmGww