Monday, October 11, 2010

DVD Review: The Dark Lurking (2009)

"In Space, Terror Knows No Bounds"
Cinema Epoch

DIRECTOR: Greg Connors
CAST: Tonia Renee (Lena), Ozzie Devrish (Kirkland), Roslyn Van Doorn Yutant), Dirk Foulger (Konieg), Anthony Edwards (Dare), Bret Kennedy (Michaels)

SUMMARY:  Outpost 320 is a secret research facility located one mile beneath the Earth. Researchers make a critical mistake and an ancient evil is unleashed. Eight survivors including two former research patients, three mercenaries, two researchers and a medic fight for survival against a horde of creatures. They're only escape is through 13 levels of terror that will lead them to the surface. However, one of them is not what they appear.

FILM: The Dark Lurking is the feature-length debut from writer/director Greg Connors. This is an action-packed film that wears its influences on it's sleeve, just check out the box art which unlike Cinema Epoch's Psycho Shark delivers what the box art promises - an adrenaline fueled homage to James Cameron's Aliens that mixes in a healthy dose of Resident Evil type creatures that makes for a potent combination of sci-fi and action-gore.

The Dark Lurking is set in the underground research facility Outpost 320, it's a dark labyrinth of narrow, claustrophobic corridors and rooms complete with strobing red lights, misty atmosphere and ravenous creatures running amuck. The researchers have accidentally unleashed an ancient evil that mutates the majority of the crew into ravenous creatures. Our eight survivors make their way through research facility in an effort to escape to the surface while avoiding the vicious horde of creatures. There's a good mix of familiar iconic characters. You have the roughneck mercenaries, the suspect researchers, a few research patients, and a medic. The acting is decent, not fantastic, but the actors suit the characters and play there parts sufficiently.

What sets The Dark Lurking apart from other low-budget sci-fi/horror knock-offs is that the cinematography and editing are top notch. Great use of interesting angles, movement of camera and well edited action sequences provide a visually interesting film. I also enjoyed the pulsing filmscore, which is also heavily influenced by the films of Cameron. A criticism I have of the film would be that there may be too much action. The rarely slows down and I would have appreciated a few more character moments because you don't get a great feel for the characters. That aside, this film is all about relentless action and killing mutated creatures and to that end this film delivers in spades.

On par with the cinematography and editing are the outstanding creature SFX.  Grotesque, clawed mutations rendered using old school practical latex and rubbber suits and they look great. While more an sci-fi actioner than a horror flick The Dark Lurking  has more than enough blood, guts and splatter to satisfy most gorehouds.  The film just feels old school in regards to it's action and creature effects, it's an appealing combination.

DVD: The Dark Lurking is presented in anamorphic 2.35:1 widescreen with a 5.1 surround sound mix. It's a good looking , not stunning, but better than your average micro-budget sci-fi action film. A decent amount of extras including Trailer, Behind-the-Scenes Featurette, the short film "Netherworld" and a still gallery.

VERDICT: The Dark Lurking was a ton o' fun. A high recommend to fans of bloody action-packed sci-fi horror, particularly if you dig Aliens, Predator, or Resident Evil. I look forward to the next project from director Greg Connors, a promising debut from a new talent. The Dark Lurking is set to be released October 12th 2010 from Cinema Epoch.
***(3 Out of Five Stars)