Director – Loren W. Lepre (The Thinker, Pennsylvania Hardcore)
Starring – R. Marcos Taylor (Baby Driver, Straight Out of Compton), Loren W. Lepre, and Gina Marie Scholl (The Listing, The Grievance Group)
Release Date – 2019
Rating – 2/5
Tagline – “The hunt is on”
My Scream Team Releasing marathon continues as I check out a movie I completely forgot I bought. Sometime ago STR was running a special where it was buy two or three movies and get one free. I needed a couple to finish my collection at the time so I took advantage of the sale. After I grabbed the few I needed there was one more film left and I could get it for nothing as part of the promotion. I watched the trailer and it seemed cool so I tossed it in my cart and grabbed it. While I was checking out these other releases I thought it would be the perfect time to check this one out as well.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows a group of serial killers, known as The Dark Military, who want to make Halloween scary. They organize a live stream where contestants compete to survive the night but what they don’t know is that this live stream is a competition among the Dark Military to kill everyone involved with it within their allotted time frame.**Spoiler Alert**
I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I tossed this one in but the trailer looked fun in a Running Man meets Battle Royale way but the film was anything but that. I really wanted to like the film but I just couldn’t get into it.
The acting in this one is up and down. I absolutely have the hots for Marie Scholl now. Her character is a complete bad ass and her performance is amazing. If there is a stand alone film with her you can count me in. With that being said, the rest of the Dark Military was cheesing it up way too hard on screen. Their rants were almost like shoot interviews for a local wrestling show. This especially was true for director Loren W. Lepre’s character. When he would talk I was expecting him to end each sentence with “brother.” My biggest hang up with the cast is the victims. Viewers typically want some to live but these characters are so annoying and their personalities lacking that the viewer was waiting for them to die. We wanted to watch them suffer and the kills we get were not brutal enough.
The story for this one is somewhat cool but other parts are extremely cheesy and not in a fun Killer Klowns from Outer Space kind of way. The group killing people to make Halloween scary again is pretty lame BUT the Running Man style live stream was pretty fucking clever. The film struggles, at least in my eyes, to determine which course it wants to go. A serious horror film for a modern age or a cheesy “make Halloween mean something again” horror film with professional wrestlers. If you look passed all that we get a film that also struggles with it’s pacing. The segments where the killers are being interviewed tossed throughout the film cuts down on any momentum the actual story builds on itself. The movie literally trips over it’s own feet. These segments need left on the cutting room floor.
Finally, the film doesn’t shy away from the blood but the kills are taken from the viewer and delivered off camera. We get some solid practical effects and plenty of blood with some guts. The kills are not as brutal as the film would lead you to believe but the effects are nice to look at. Overall, The Dark Military has a story I could really get behind but the delivery is just all wrong. It’s a struggle to watch at times and not as violent as you would expect.