The Dark Military is crazy as Hell! Seriously, it encompasses so many different styles and genres into one feature film. This is one example of “having something for everybody,” that actually rings true. But, before I go completely off the rails in support of this movie, let me start with a proper introduction. The Dark Military is written and directed by Loren W. Lepre under Average Superstar Films in association with Backseat Conceptions. Loren’s existed in this industry for over 20 years as an actor, even going as far as to appear in some incarnations of WWE programming, and he starting creating his own original content in 2012 with a slew of short films. I will say, though, that The Dark Military is probably what he’s going to be most known for going forward as it solidifies him as a great director and creator. With the help of producer/editor Steven Carino and cinematographer Zafer Ulkucu, a special little horror gem has been enlisted into the universe.
As I previously stated, The Dark Military is a mash-up of genres, but it’s also a mash-up of movies. During my viewing I equated it to Wrong Turn 2 meets The Purge or The Condemned meets Halloween: Resurrection. In this suspenseful, action-horror thriller, a small group of militant psychos want to change Halloween forever and make it scary again. And, hey, I’m totally on board with that! Part one of their plan begins with a popular web-series that takes horror lovers into the woods for a night of pantomimed survival. The show will stream live and the folks at home can watch the willing participants play the game. Unfortunately, The Dark Military has other plans for the bus load of men and women, and they become unwilling participants in a real game of life and death. Stranded in an unknown location, with no electronics at hand, the players are systematically butchered by the black-mask wearing lunatics. Who will survive this Halloween night that the world will never forget?
R. Marcus Taylor, Loren W. Lepre, Gina Marie Scholl, Cabrina Collesides, John Woods, Shannon Sexton, Julie Stackhouse, Jeni Miller, Cory Kastle, Lamar Bumbrey, Eric Foxhill, James Donahhue, Mike Sutton and Dave Shaver star with special appearances from Alex Vincent (Child’s Play franchise), Sharon Smyth Lentz (“Dark Shadows”) and Brian ‘The Blue Meanie’ Heffron (“WWE”).
OK, so, from a production standpoint, the biggest thing I want to point out about The Dark Military is how impressed I am by its outdoor lighting. Every crew member that helped with that task and department deserves a tremendous round of applause. I’ve seen very few independent horror films with lighting that was as professional as it was here. And that’s what I love about independent film-making in general. Often-times, with the right crew in command, a director can pull of a feat of magic that rivals the Hollywood big dogs. That can definitely be said about The Dark Military. For a small budget, Loren and executive producers Mary Liz Langlois and Natalie Foxhill did some work that certainly payed off in the long run. The Dark Military is a step above the rest when it comes to effort and smart pre-production planning and that deserves a round of applause, too. I can only imagine what Loren could achieve with a bigger budget. Great video quality, perfect audio, perfect lighting, a lot of wonderful gore and special effects, and better-than-expected acting performances. The Dark Military surprised me in terms of production and content, and my only gripe is with several lines of cheesy dialogue.
Oh, and it’s got a lot of chase scenes. Old school horror fans and slasher enthusiasts are going to really dig that.
But, that leads me back to The Dark Military being a cannonball of different movie tropes. It’s a group slasher, if that makes any sense, while also being a justified action-thriller. It’s an independent production yet it reeks of big Hollywood professionalism. I think it definitely lends itself to the style of grindhouse movie and VHS classics of the 80’s and I mean that with the most respect. The Dark Military was modern – especially with the technology and live-streaming as a source to get the violence out to the masses – yet it’s a retro bloodbath. It’s a rock and roll narrative of sorts and contains mild nudity. It’s just… fun. I guess that’s the simplest way to boil down all these conflicting thematics. The Dark Military is fun and enjoyable from start to finish. I would highly recommend it to those of you who like action and adventure mixed with your torture and death. I’m not sure when this baby’s gearing up for release, but I hope it happens in October. This could easily become an instant Halloween classic! Final Score: 8.5 out of 10.