DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

MURDER IN THE DARK (director/writer: Dagen Merill ; screenwriter: Chris Wyatt/story by Merill & Wyatt; cinematographer: Tim A. Burton; editor: Jordan J. Miller; music: Christopher Brady; cast: Luke Arnold (Kevin), Phil Austin  (Matthew), Yann Bean (Luca), Samrat Chakrabarti (Ajay), Mary Kate Wiles (Taylor), (Lilly), Eme Ikwuakor (Solo), Simone Tang (Simone), Murielle Zuker (Jessica); Runtime: 86; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Chris Wyatt/Jaime Burke ; Regenerate Films; 2013)

"The resolution was not only unpleasant but uninteresting."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

It was created as an experimental horror film. The actors had no script and were forced to improvise, as each actor was briefed only about their part. The gimmicky horror pic was directed by Dagen Merill ("Beneath"/"Broken Hill") based on a story he wrote with Chris Wyatt.

An international group of young medical school student tourists are driven by their middle-aged leader, the
American surgeon Matthew (Phil Austin), in a mini-van, to the ancient ruins  in a remote location in Turkey (the ruins were shot in Italy). When lost on a winding hilly road they give a ride to lone hitchhiker Kevin (Luke Arnold), who speaks English and knows the way to the ruins. The group camps out overnight at the ruins, and play an innocent murder game called Murder in the Dark. The idea of the game was to figure out who was the murderer before killed. In the morning they find Simone (Simone Tang) dead on the roof of the ruins. Since cell phones won't work, Kevin is allowed to seek help from a farm a few miles away after promising to return. When Matthew tries to return to civilization with his campers, the car won't start. While Lillian goes to bring the group to the car, she instead turns up dead, hanging from the rocks. Imitating the game played last night, the characters turn on one another trying to find the killer.

Spoiler alert follows.

As more gets revealed of why the group members are being picked off one at a time, we learn it has something do about illegal research over body parts.

Despite its shortcomings, the film surprisingly kept my interest even if in the end this wasn't warranted. Unfortunately, the premise does not hold up to scrutiny, and the resolution was not only unpleasant but uninteresting.

REVIEWED ON 7/22/2016       GRADE: C

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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