This was another blind bargain purchase of a film I knew nothing about. The blurb on the DVD case sounded intriguing enough and I had certainly heard of the most of the cast. It is a well-acted horror thriller made on a low-budget with a very small cast. With simple effects and lighting the film-makers have created a fairly tense creepy film. I did feel it was a more like good Twilight Zone episode that had been padded out to feature film length.
One night the Dark comes to Detroit and takes everybody except for a small handful which it now hunts. When it takes people it leaves behind clothing and jewellery etc. in a sad pile where they stood. When it first strikes Paul (John Leguizamo) is working as a projectionist when the power goes out. Instead of a busy cinema all that’s left are piles of clothes. Outside in the mall he finds a single security guard alive but he doesn’t last long as the darkness takes him silently. Luke (Hayden Christensen) is a TV news anchor and he wakes in his apartment to discover there’s no power and that there’s no people. Three nights later Luke is making his way through the streets draped in batttery powered torches and checking all the cars for any whose engine still works. He finds a truck but the battery is flat. He spots a little girl with a torch but she runs off when he calls after her. He comes across a brightly light bar with music playing and checks it out. He finds the place is being powered by a generator but it is running low on fuel. The place seems empty but is in fact in inhabited by a frightened 12-year-old boy called James (Jacob Latimore) who pulls a shotgun on Luke. Luke calms him down and lowers his own gun. James tells him that his mother left him to go to the church down the street and told him to wait there in the bar for her.
Another survivor Rosemary (Thandie Newton) comes into the bar hysterical and wanting to know where her baby is. When she tells them her story it’s clear that she’s aware that the dark took her baby at the hospital where she works as a doctor. She also found a patient on the operating table with empty surgical clothes gathered around him but he didn’t last long and the dark soon took him. They hear someone screaming for help outside and Luke wants them to ignore it but Rosemary wants to go help, which guilts Luke into going. They find Paul inside a brightly lit bus shelter that operates on solar power so has kept going for now and they take him back to the bar with shadows closing in on them all the time. All he knows is that he found himself dumped on the street and someone hit him on the head. They have absolutely no idea what is happening or if it will stop happening or even if tomorrow the sun will rise.
I thought this was a nice creepy film and it was really carried by strong performances from all the main cast and the use of simple but effective lighting. I liked the premise of the story but I’m not sure it was enough for a whole film and the pace did seem a bit saggy in the middle. It was still an interesting watch.