- Elf 2017
The Dark Tapes
Michael McQuown, Nicola Odeku, Haldane Morris, Amon Mahmud, Vincent J. Guastini for Thunder Road Incorporated
directed by Michael McQuown, episode To Catch a Demon directed by Vincent J. Guastini
starring wraparound-segment: David Banks, Sara Castro; segment To Catch a Demon: Cortney Palm, David Rountree, Matt Magnusson, Ryan Allan Young; segment The Hunters and the Hunted: Shawn Lockie, Stephen Zimpel, Jo Galloway, Clint Keepin, Jonathan Biver, Brittany Fisheli; segment Cam Girls: Emilia Ares Zoryan, Shane Hartline, Anna Rose Moore, Aral Gribble, Rob Lind, Wayne River Sorrell, Jon Coristol, Kari Lane, Casey James Knight; segment Amanda's Revenge: Brittany Underwood, Jake O'Connor, Katherine Shaw, David Hull, Trey Everett
written by Michael McQuown, special makeup effects by Jill Fogel, prosthetics by Afton A. Adams, sulptor: Josh Wasylink, visual effects by Andrew Lewitin, Ryan J. Thompson
It all starts at the site of a paranormal investigation that has turned
into a mess, with all the investigators gone ... but some tapes are found
- To Catch a Demon: Professor Martin Calahan (David Rountree)
and his assistant Nicole (Cortney Palm) think they can touch with a
demon when somehow entering the REM-phase of a dreamer. Problem here
is, they might be right ...
- The Hunters and the Hunted: David (Stephen Zimpel) and Karen
(Shawn Lockie) think their house is haunted, so they invite a trio of
ghosthunters (Jo Galloway, Clint Keepin, Jonathan Biver) over to
investigate. And there's indeed something wrong with the house, it
just mightn't be ghosts ...
- Cam Girls: Caitlin (Emilia Ares Zoryan) and Sindy (Anna Rose
Moore) are doing lesbian cam shows. Now Caitlin only does this to
rebel against her overly religious parents, but Sindy is into the
really kinky stuff, even including making their voyeurs cut themselves
... and she might have utterly sinister motives for wanting that ...
- Amanda's Revenge: After almost being gangraped at a party but
later claiming not to have any memory of it, Amanda (Brittany
Underwood) thinks she's abducted nightly by beings who try to make her
go crazy, just like her mother who killed her brother. Her best friend
Ryan (Jake O'Connor) is the only one who believes her and wants to
help her - but he might have bitten off more than he might ever be
able to chew on.
Ok, this movie describes itself as a "found footage" flick -
and that might turn off a lot of people already ... but The Dark Tape
actually uses the approach rather cleverly and in a cinematic way rather
than too many other films of its ilk that just cut corners. Instead, this
one puts its emphasis on creating tension and suspense, puts emphasis on
decent pacing (often a shortcoming with found footage movies) and telling
original stories. And with a decent cast, some crazy ideas and fun
effects, this one totally works, too!
review © by Mike Haberfelner
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