Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Overlook Theatre Reviews: The Dark Tapes

of 11 viewers "Liked" "The Dark Tapes" (2016, USA)
Here's what the creatures had to say:

The Berkeley Blazer - "Don't let the low score discourage you, this film is not boring. Some segments, in fact, are downright engaging. Some are bizarre in a way that doesn't feel intentional, and others have some great ideas that don't come together. In short, this is one of the most uneven films I've reviewed for the Overlook, even taking into consideration that this is an anthology. I had a good enough time watching this that it probably deserves a 3, but there are aspects and moments of this movie that are so lazy and unbearable I started to wonder if I had fallen asleep and another film had started. As disappointing as it is diverting, The Dark Tapes will have to settle for half a score that might be worth a look for anthology maniacs." - 2.5 Stars

KillDozer - "With a budget of $65,000 and a dream, a makeup artist and a writer/producer were able to make their vision a reality and bring a very ambitious idea to the screen. Most genre nerds can tell you that the anthology film is an extremely tough thing to pull off, especially when the goal is to have the audience falling in love with the entire finished product. While I appreciated the attempt at trying to bring together science fiction and intertwine it with traditional hauntings and demonology, unfortunately it didn't work with me and actually had me falling asleep during most segments. I can tell you that the effects are practical and fun as hell. I must admit that I am also not a fan of found footage and constantly look for mistakes when watching it. With that being said, the crowd I was with didn't take the film too seriously and had a blast watching it while laughing together and pointing out the silliest of situations as they appeared on screen. I am all for supporting independent horror so feel free to give it a shot as this film has won several solid film fest awards. In my humble opinion these "lost tapes" should have stayed that way." - 2 Stars (not collection worthy, but was fun to watch with a fun-loving loud audience)

The Impostor - "Found footage is a favorite sub-genre of mine. When going into The Dark Tapes, I was thinking it would be similar or just as good as V/H/S due to its similar premise. Sadly I was wrong. The film plays out in four segments with one being an extremely confusing wrap around. While some stories were better than others, by the final drawn out segment I became bored and didn't care what happened next. Watching with a group of friends instead of alone is recommended and actually helped me give it an extra star. So if you are looking for a Safeway select version of V/H/S this is your movie." - 2 Stars

Lord Battle - "Well versed adventurers of the horror genre will know what it means when a movie has "Tapes" in the title and boasts the found footage style. If you are unfamiliar with these warning signs, the chances are slim that you'll pick up The Dark Tapes and fall in love, let alone finish the feature. It honestly takes a special kind of masochistic treasure hunter to unearth a gem in the found footage horror soil, but it's those greedy souls that may find some value in The Dark Tapes. From the start of the wrap around to the Cam Girls short, these features shift from hard science to pure comedy. The acting is crude, the scripts are wounded, and the end product is lacking, but there are enough new ideas to keep those who collect unmarked VHS tapes." - 3 Stars

Huntress - "The Dark Tapes had a strong opening and so many little elements that I liked, I was really bummed when I started losing interest. It’s a found footage anthology, which sounds awesome on paper, but the strange organization and title cards between segments felt awkward and left me wondering why there was a wrap around at all. But re-watching it without preconceived expectations allowed me to appreciate those elements that I liked in the first place." - 3 Stars

The Great Hornito - "This is probably the worst found footage movie I have ever seen but not the least entertaining. I enjoyed the train wreck and would recommend this movie to anyone who hates good movies." - 1 Star

Dabbles - "The only thing I really liked was the girl. It was fun to critique though. I have a lot of critiques. #RIPGerry" - 2 Stars

Math Mage - "Boring V/H/S rip-off pretends to have a theme (Night Terrors?) fails on almost all levels. I liked this premise better when it was The Nightmare." - 1 Star

Trash - "Found footage as a trend is on its way out -- which hopefully means the sub-genre will from now on be home to better movies that are actually using the found footage device for creative reasons, not just cos everyone else is. Still, we’ve got some stragglers, like The Dark Tapes, a new found footage anthology playing at some genre fests right now. Let's break this down. The Dark Tapes has three stand alone segments. First: a family in a haunted house, second: a cam show gone evil, and third: alien date rape or some shit. Then there’s this ongoing segment between these about some scientists with special cameras doing ghost experiments with time, which is the best and most unique part of the movie. Then there’s a tiny little cap on top of that of two people on a smoke break or something. Other than that link to the wrap around, there’s no thread at all with the segments. I have absolutely no idea who collected and labeled and is hitting play on these dark tapes, but hey, neat spooky tape collection. Here's the thing though, I kind of really liked it. Not in a wow-what-a-great-art! kind of way, but in a this is ridiculous and I can't stop laughing way. Knockoffs charm me. And I'm all about time travel and weird scifi, so that wrap around segment with the scientific time-bending experiment to capture a ghost between video frames gets me just a little turned on. But my favorite thing about The Dark Tapes is they slapped about thirty festival laurels on their poster which are all awards they were mostly just nominated for at the same three festivals. And that's some clever con artistry. I give it three whole stars!" - 3 Stars

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*
(Below is for after you've seen the film)

Long ago, in a seemingly normal residence, located deep in the heart of suburbia, The Great Hornito, Huntress and I watched Grave Encounters for the second time. This screening would soon be one of the most influential in the Overlook Theatre's history, as it proved the impact a found footage film can have in the right setting.

The first incarnation of The Overlook Theatre
 The original Overlook Theatre was a little too comfortable but did have several advantages that made it the found footage headquarters. First it was located away from all bedrooms, which allowed for almost limitless volume levels, perfect for immersive viewing. Second, there was really only 1 window in the room that faced North, so it was almost always pitch black in there. Third we projected on a wall that allowed for a very large canvas. Now when I summon the creatures for a found footage screening, I insist that they see it in the theatre and not at home on a TV, computer, or phone. The screening of The Dark Tapes wasn't any different.

The new location the Overlook Theatre haunts seats 13 people (9 comfortably), and when The Dark Tapes played we had 11 fiends in attendance. In a private location, screening films with 5+ people it quickly becomes clear that, as Dio would say, the "Mob Rules" and when a film starts to deviate down an absurd path or have a poor execution (the end of the first short) the result is more often than not comedic. Now the Overlook Theatre has always been transparent about housing several non-horror fans and has stood by the honest review system, even in light of this. And what came from screening The Dark Tapes in a theatre setting was, 7 of 11 beasts disliking the feature but 11 of 11 engaging in conversation and ultimately having a good time. 

- Lord Battle

The Overlook Theatre materialized in a residence for a screening on 11/3/2016
*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not effect the rating.

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