Friday, October 9, 2015

Dark Rising (Andrew Cymek, 2007)

B-Movie, straight-to-video fantasy and sci-fi is always a crap shoot, isn't it? If one expects too much, they are destined to be disappointed. An openness to the possibility that something is good will at times lead you to something wonderful. And sometimes you get exactly what the genre offers; a mildly entertaining movie with a mixture of classic tropes and appropriation of interesting concepts that were better suited elsewhere. Throw in to T&A, and you've got a movie.

Dark Rising is of the last sort...

That's not to say it isn't worthwhile. It is slow to get going, pretty sexist, and full of unlikeable characters. On the the plus side, it has a decent sense of humor at times. It has some classic rubber-suit monsters, which are on-par with Meatball Machine and other Japanese video horrors. The basic plot is a mix of The Ancient Dogoo Girl and the comic book Cavewoman.

Jason, our hero, and his douchebag sidekick, Ricky, plan a camping trip to get Jason back with his ex-girlfriend Jasmine. Renee (Ricky's girlfriend) and Marlene (now Jasmine's girlfriend) plan to go along. The three are witch-wannabes, and have a magical book from a local bookstore. They try to summon the spirit of Summer Vale. They are... successful. Naturally, Summer's spirit does not come alone; nor is it her spirit. She has been trapped in another dimension/plane since childhood, and when she returns a demon comes with her.

Summer Vale (Brigitte Kingsley) has not really grown up since her abduction. She considers herself a princess (because her father said she was one), and is childlike, despite her oh-so-apparent physical maturity. In the other dimension, she was trained to kill demons... So, she is a lot like Meriem the Cavewoman, who is physically grown but innocent. She is also like Dogu-chan from The Ancient Dogoo Girl, the relentless demon-hunter who is out-of-touch with the modern world who becomes attached to the first "boy" she meets.

I'd love to tell you this one is good. Really. It has moments where it is clever and funny. There is not a high jiggle-factor, but there is a dash of nudity and chicks making out. Kingsley's fighting is not at all convincing, but her costume is pretty awesome. The rubber monster demon is cheesy enough to not be laughable; as in, there is some skill that went into making it, but not so serious that it seems stupid. Does that make sense?

Not great... Not horrible... Apparently it launched a television show, and there is a sequel (Agency of Vengeance). This is a decent launch point for more, as Summer's story is left untold, and there is no major enemy to confront.

Sadly, this one is not on Netflix (though the sequel currently is), nor Amazon Prime.

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