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Dark Lurking, The (2010)

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Score: 3/10

Genre: Sci-Fi Horror Running Time: 1 hr. 37 min.

Release Date: October 12th, 2010 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Greg Connors Actors: Tonia Renee, Bret Kennedy, Ozzie Devrish, Roslyn van Doorn, Dirk Edwards, Davyd Williams, Cassia Rosenstraus, India Gaythwaite

A

t an orbiting IDGAF communications hub, an emergency transmission is intercepted from Research Station 320. The facility is in a panic and under strict quarantine, with biological containment filters failing and security personnel being attacked by contaminated humanoid mutations. Human lab rat SC 17, Lena (Tonia Renee), awakes in a white cell to discover that her surroundings have been overrun by the disfigured monstrosities scurrying about the station. She’s rescued by mercenary soldiers Michaels (Bret Kennedy), Dare (Anthony Edwards), and Kirkland (Ozzie Devrish), the only remaining men from a much larger battalion, which had been hired to retrieve any survivors.

They’re entombed in lightless corridors by bacteria-ridden creatures, but they nevertheless intend to proceed to the control bunker on level 9 through available vertical vents. A handful of technicians, patients, and scientists are all that have been successfully collected. As the group slowly treks through blood-soaked shafts, apprehensive Doctor Konieg (Dirk Foulger) reveals that what they’re fighting against is not a virus but rather a bioengineered, supernatural black angel (aka Lucifer) – and unintended variations from cloning, destined for weaponizing.

The infection and resulting physical alterations spread as if the victims were zombies, with the deceased reanimating to aggressively attack the living, making “The Dark Lurking” much more of a slasher than a monster movie. The makeup and gore by Sharp FX is adequately impressive, considering the evident low-budget feel to the other moviemaking aspects. Sets, props, costumes, and lighting (signal flares, smoke, and steam are nice touches) are also decent and signify a consequential production value, but the acting, dialogue, and scripting are severely lacking – greatly taking away from the amusing visuals. The survivalist plot barely exists, essentially just moving characters from a starting point to an ending point, with many getting picked off along the way. The paltry character development ensures that no one will care who lives or dies. Devrish is the only actor who looks the part, so it’s particularly disappointing that, since the producers couldn’t afford real talent, they wouldn’t have at least attempted to cast more people like Devrish.

The shaky camerawork desperately tries to create suspense and scares, but the cutting is so rapid that it’s regularly difficult to decipher what is happening and to whom. Strobe lights are employed to similarly disorient viewers in the hope that it will inspire thrills, while circling cameras try to copy Michael Bay’s overdone, signature technique. Sadly, none of it works. There’s a showering scene with no nudity, freely gushing blood, plenty of gunfire, “Event Horizon” or “Hellraiser: Inferno” styled haunting (which is to say sudden and mediocre dreamlike visions), and gratuitous violence – such as a sledgehammer to the torso, severed limbs, punctured organs, and an exploding head – which should satisfy the target audience.

Several ideas are obviously stolen from “Alien,” including the humidity, metal grating, dangling chains, and claustrophobic passageways, as well as the rubbery, slimy, eyeless alien antagonist, and betrayal by an insider wishing to protect the enemy for scientific and monetary potential. A necronomicon from “The Evil Dead” also makes a startlingly derivative appearance. But stealing from the best doesn’t help a movie that has not a single original element of its own – which will ultimately inspire audiences to instead want to watch the archetypal films from which “The Dark Lurking” was clumsily spawned.

– Mike Massie

 



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