As Night Falls (2010/13)

The "horror/comedy" permutation of the horror genre has seen a couple of "hey days" in it's life span. The first golden age of horror comedy - the 1980's reflected the more relaxed, fun, me generation aspect of the decade following the oh so serious '70's. When society turned again in the early 90's and teenagers were told that being angry is a lot more fun than well, having fun, the genre kind of petered out a bit. The dawn of the 2000's saw a return to the the attitude of the 80's. This time without the rampant cocaine use. Parody films like 'Scary Movie' begat films like 'Shaun Of The Dead' and Don Coscarellis' classic 'Bubba Ho Tep' that were funny, but still had some legitimate scares in them. The resurgence in the sub-genre has seen some tremendously funny and very scary films - unfortunately 'As Night Falls' is not one of them.

We begin in 1933 with a young girl getting chased through the woods by people who I assume are her parents. They are none too happy with her it seems. In fact when they catch her they kill her. Someone should call child services.

Fast forward, I don't know, 75, 80 years or so and Elizabeth, little sister Holly, her mother and now dead father have moved into a rural towns obligatory spooky house. Said house is scheduled to be used for one of those movie-type all out crazy parties celebrating the return home of her rock star boyfriend, Otto. Said party gets going and shallow, annoying characters abound. But it's not just the party invitees who show up but also the ghost of the little girl who was murdered by her parents to start the whole thing off.

She's there to warn them that her parents are coming back and their are very angry. And wouldn't you know it...they do come back and start offing everyone. Which at this point in the film is a welcome sight. The thought of having to spend anymore time with some of these folks, I would start getting murderous tendencies.

'As Night Falls' claims to have horror legend Debbie Rochon in the cast, but you would hardly know it. She plays the murderous mother. it took me a while to figure it out, I'm generally an idiot, but with all the terrible looking make up on her, I doubt her mother would have recognized her. This isn't a knock on Ms. Rochon. It's about how she's used. She's Debbie Fucking Rochon! Do something with her! The rest of the cast is serviceable for what the film is. There is some some decent acting and some terrible acting - about what you would suspect from low budget fare like this.

Casting faux pas aside, the biggest problem with the film is it never really knows what it wants to be. There are some clever lines, the Harrison Ford "quote off" is really good stuff. The problem is that more often than not the narrative slows to a stop and any tension is broken for the sake of a joke. It's maddening.

Written and Directed by Joe Davison, 'As Night Falls' is the type of film that leaves people like myself, people on the outside who desperately want to be on the inside of the the film making industry, angry as hell. Angry and confused. On the one hand, if this film can get green lit by some studio than there is hope for all of us. On the other hand THIS FILM got green lit by a studio...why hasn't anything I've done? Am I that bad? See the paradox? Maddening!

'As Night Falls' has it's heart in the right place. It is clever in parts. I had the potential to be pretty damn creepy. Unfortunately it tries to be too smart and the entire film falls flat.

'As Night Falls' hits DVD on November 12th.

** out of *****

1 comment:

  1. Nice. Thanks for the review--not going to bother, I think.