Fans of TREMORS and ALLIGATOR should enjoy this tongue-in-cheek shocker about a not-so-extinct creature that haunts graveyards and eats the recently dead. Fortified with a strong central romance, THE DARK conscientiously delineates its major characters before the chills commence.
In the prologue, a sadistic cop, Buchner (Brion James), loses his partner to an unseen force in a graveyard. He arrests Dr. Gary "Hunter" Henderson (Stephen McHattie), who's inexplicably present on the night of the death, but the scientist refuses to enlighten him. Gravedigger Jake (Dennis
O'Connor) and his apprentice Ed (Jaimz Wolvett) discover mysteriously shifted headstones and a tunnel in one of the burial sites. They notify Sheriff Gabe (Christopher Bondy) and Deputy Jesse (Neve Campbell). When Hunter rescues waitress Tracy Ventura (Cynthia Belliveau) from bikers who attack
them both, she volunteers to join him on a secret expedition to find a giant, rodent-like creature that scavenges in cemeteries.
Sheriff Gabe, investigating, gets eaten by the hungry varmint, and Jake barely escapes with his life. When Hunter reveals that he wants to study the animal because it secretes a healing substance, Jake, Ed, and Jesse reluctantly agree to assist him. Tracy falls into a tunnel but escapes death.
Meanwhile, the monster polishes off Arnold (William Lynn), a lawman who comes looking for the sheriff. With Tracy, Hunter concocts a plan: he plays dead in a coffin, hoping that the creature will drag him back to his lair. Then Buchner shows up in a bloodthirsty mood, deliberately wounding Jake
and dumping him in an open grave as bait. When he shoots Ed, however, the noise triggers the beast's self-preservation instinct and Buchner's forced to enter the tunnel in pursuit. In the dark below, Hunter and Buchner fight for their lives---against each other and the monster---and the cop
manages to wound the carnivorous rodent fatally. It comes to the surface to die, and when Buchner emerges, Hunter tranquilizes him to death with juice meant for the creature.
THE DARK features a likeable set of protagonists; for once, we root for the heroes to come out alive. The monster, driven by instinct, is more garbage disposal than killer, and its death scene is actually rather moving. The real fiend here isn't the giant rat, but the bent policeman with the
instincts of a big-game hunter. With its ingratiating performers and flavorfully funny dialogue, THE DARK is an entertaining, expertly produced journey to the center of the cemetery. Eschewing sci-fi double-talk, it cuts to the chase with telling use of offscreen space and well-placed camera
compositions. Above all, it's got characters that you could feel for, no matter what the genre happens to be--even a fright flick about a great big corpse-eating rodent. (Graphic violence, extensive nudity, extreme profanity.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1994
- Rating: R
- Review: Fans of TREMORS and ALLIGATOR should enjoy this tongue-in-cheek shocker about a not-so-extinct creature that haunts graveyards and eats the recently dead. Fortified with a strong central romance, THE DARK conscientiously delineates its major characters bef… (more)