A man leaves his busy city life for the peace of the country home where he spent his early childhood. His new life is soon disturbed by strange events
There have been quite a few films over the course of the horror genre taking on the name of “Darkness”, so it’s always a bit of a puzzle as to if I’d seen one before or not. No, actually this “Darkness” comes from the Czech Republic directed by Juraj Herz. As the promo says “it puts a modern spin on a classic ghost story”. I’m not sure though what story its referring to but it does take on the idea of an old house with a history and a haunting that is attached to it. Our main character Marek (Ivan Franek) decides to take a break from his busy city life and life as a musician to retire for a bit to an old house from his childhood. The house which has been left alone for quite some time is actually revealed to be somewhat feared form the locals who insists the residence holds a legend and there for is cursed.
Marek just wants to paint and make old acquaintances new acquaintance. When he returns to his hometown, a few familiar faces pop up here and there including a new love interest in Lucie (Lenka Krobotová) from the town post office. Marek begins to set out what he came for, which is to work on his painting in the quietness of the quaint village. His work becomes inspired and then begins to become even darker in its presentation. Lucie comes a calling and they hit if off quite well, but her father disapproves as he does of the house in which Marek has taken residence in. As Marek asks about the history, he uncovers a Nazi past in which they used to poison German children with handicaps in the basement. His sister who has just escaped from her home at a mental asylum also pays him a visit to warn him about the dark spirits that lurk within. Marek suspect something as strange noises and moving objects begin to set the spirits in motion bringing forth the whole ordeal from a violent past that has his ancestors associated with the Nazi revolution in which he is determined to uncover.
One thing that stood out spectacularly in this film was the unique and beautifully dark paintings that Marek created with his character. I’m assuming that they were done by another artist, but for me they were personal highlights and something I’d like to see more of rather than just as movie props. I’m sure many viewers will agree on this aspect which as an important part of the film helps to bring a deeper sense of artistry to the production.
Now one thing that I thinks its worth mentioning is that while the film is a horror movie its actually more closer to a drama and thriller with horror elements. I didn’t find it scary but it was poetic in its pace. The foreign aspect really helps sell a different feel that would have failed if this film were American made. There definitely is a creepiness that lurks throughout the film that could of been exploited more than it was.
Mareks band past seems more like a distraction to him than a former element. When his band members come visiting, they seem to serve no real purpose than providing some drunken spats, some sexing and an opportunity for a one of the tag along groupies to go missing. The brunt of the story lies on Marek, his strained relationship with Lucie and a town that stays far from the house due to its evil history. The film was formally known as T.M.A which I really didn’t know why. The actors are all Czechoslovakian and provide a solid dramatic performance in light of a horror film without alot of horror. Still it works as a thriller and has a pretty believable location that adds to the quirky mood. I’d give it a go again, as it worked for me…