Dark Vision

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I don’t know about “Rise.” It’s more of a saunter, really.

The Dark Vision internet Hub has set up a streaming online competition. Five teams compete in a paranormal competition, streaming their activities to the masses who will vote to choose the winner. The winner’s prize? Their very own series. Host Spencer Knights is one such contestant and he is willing to do just about anything, including putting his own crew in jeopardy, in order to win the coveted prize.

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In other words, he’s the only one who gives a damn. Everyone else’s experience can be summed up like this.

Dark Vision has an odd set up. The first thing you see is a blank screen where words are slowly typed in to reveal the short back story Dark Vision ‘competition’. I put that in quotes because you never actually see any of the other four supposed groups vying for the prize, though the blank screen does occasionally pop back up to tell you when other teams are out of the running.

Instead the film focuses solely on Knights and his crew’s production of Mind Full and their exploration of the Baylock home, or more precisely, the tunnels below it. It’s not a bad setting, all things considered. There’s a rather odd groundskeeper, a nice plague back-story, mentions of the occult and lots of dark, poorly lit tunnels. It’s an adequate set-up, but nothing that hasn’t been seen before.

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No, not even you, screeching death-child.

All the characters are pretty believable, if not the most bright or likable. Knight himself is a complete a$$, the type of character who seems tailor made to do nothing but piss off the audience. He’s pompous and manipulative and the kind of person the viewer wishes a gruesome death upon before the first scene has even ended. That he ends up eventually seeing the error of his ways and seems genuinely upset by it, comes as too little, too late.

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The British accent does him no favors.

Everyone else just muddles along, initially just trying to get the damn production over with, but later shifting to just trying to stay alive. The exception to this is Clem, the groundskeeper, who not only steals the show (not really difficult with how dull the other characters are), but also walks away with not only the creepiest scene, but also adds layers of both humor and honor, two elements sorely lacking in the rest of the production.

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Shockingly, the most interesting and capable person in the entire film.

One of the better aspects of this film is the choice of imagery for the ghost- uh, demon, er,- well, whatever the hell it is, it jumped around a bit. It’s simple, sure, and the look of the bird-like plague mask can initially come across as a little goofy, but by using it sparingly I think they pulled off its execution quite nicely.

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Being primarily centered around a ‘reality’ show, the film is presented in a multitude of different ways, including TV-like fixed camera angles, hand held cameras, traditional shots and yes, shaky cam. This is one of the things I wish the film would have just made a decision on and stuck with. At first I assumed it was going to be shown in a reality show docu-style, but then they just went for a little bit of everything and I felt that short of muddled what they were going for.

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At the end of the day, Dark Vision’s greatest sin is that it’s just sort of…dull. The atmosphere was great and visually, the movie looked pretty good, but at the same time the setting was familiar. The acting is fully competent, but you don’t know enough about the characters to understand their motivations or even care. The story is rather solid, but suffers from being over told. There isn’t anything new to grab your attention here. What the story boils down to is just another team of ghost hunters wandering around a haunted location who happen to stumble on exactly what they were looking (not looking) for. On top of that, one of the more interesting elements of the show, that there were four other team supposedly vying for the same prize, is completely washed over. Hell, I forgot all about them until the blank screen came up and helpfully reminded me…. Perhaps that was its sole purpose.

If you enjoy the ghost hunter, shaky-cam style of horror movie, than by all means, feel free to give this a go. If not, it’s probably better off skipped.

Dark Vision is currently available for purchase via streaming on Amazon.

As far as I can tell, it’s not available in a physical format.

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