Review: Nadim Tebyanian’s Dark Punch

I don’t know if I’d consider Dark Punch a horror film, but it’s definitely… different, and something that exists wholesomely outside of the realm of mainstream media. If you enjoy psychological thrillers with a touch of twisted, disturbing scenes of gore and uncomfortable material, than the new movie from writer, director, producer and editor Nadim Tebyanian just might be the movie for you! The feature film follows Darren, a mentally deranged drifter who attacks and robs innocent victims for pleasure; a true psychopath and sociopath… until the day he makes the wrong choice and alters his destiny forever. A dirty, grungy, dark thriller, Dark Punch stars Joe Mayes, Jason Foster, Stephanie Booth, Alec Scheller, Sean Phillips and Adara Hotaling. It was originally released in 2015 or 2016, but you can find it now courtesy of Reel Nightmare Films.

Right off the bat, Dark Punch is striking because it was shot in black and white. It’s rare to find a “current” film shot in this style, and it reads like an early 90’s VHS action thriller mixed with Sons of Anarchy and Devil’s Rejects. Just a dark, rough, somewhat sexualized story of crime, trauma and gore. And while it is a little rough around the edges as far as production value is concerned, I have to say one of my favorite parts was all the back-roads, forests and train tracks featured in the story. It gave off a thematic vibe that, while Darren is very much alone in the world, there’s still very much for him to experience… and destroy. The beauty of the world is lost on him as he goes from town to town, leaving bodies in his wake. But, is there more behind the mane? And is it the desire to be good or the desire to be even more evil?

I found myself enjoying the character of Darren and the man behind him, Joe Mayes, and not just because they’re easy on the eyes. I know he’s the killer and a dangerous force to be reckoned with, but I also felt the need to root for him, in whatever activity he’s doing next. Whether it’s the voyeuristic vibe Dark Punch gives off or because his character is deeper than he first appears, Darren is a cool cat and perfectly casted. The whole cast is great, actually, and they worked well together and with the way that Dark Punch was filmed. It was almost experimental, with definite risks taken behind-the-scenes, and for the most part, they payed off. If I had to recommend it this movie to people, I’d recommend it to fans of 1990’s thrillers, and violent television enthusiasts who can appreciate a good independent flick.

I wish there were a few more dead bodies to count, but Dark Punch is pretty solid and successful in what it tries to be. Final Score: 7 out of 10.

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)