TAD 2018: The Dark (2018) – Justin P. Lange

Having had its Toronto premiere last week at Toronto After Dark, writer/director Justin P. Lange’s film, an Austrian-Canadian co-production hits VOD today.

Despite its bloody and horrific trappings, The Dark is a gentle tale that sees a young girl, Mina (Nadia Alexander, best known for her work in The Sinner) become a monster because of something monstrous done to her, and through her interactions with a young blind boy, Alex (Toby Nichols – young Danny Rand from Marvel’s Iron Fist) – who has troubles of his own – discovers the path back to her own humanity.

The tale has some supernatural overtones. It’s set in a barely mapped area simply known as the Devil’s Den, a place filled with tales of demons, ghosts, ghouls and monsters. Mina herself is affected or influenced by those things, and she plies her stock and trade in blood and flesh as her bathtub full of discarded clothes attests.

Alex tumbles into her life through the arrival of a vicious criminal, Josef (Karl Marcovics), who has terrified the boy into submission.

As police and people begin the hunt for the missing boy, he and Mina travel through the Devil’s Den, a journey that will reshape her completely.

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Despite outbreaks of occasional violence, the film’s gentle heart isn’t completely hidden and watching Mina’s journey and how events shape them, serves as a commentary on ourselves, and how our own lives and its events affect us, and of course, how we deal them.

The makeup work on Alexander is subtle, and well-done, and the locations are suitably rustic. This coming-of-age tale plays out a little unevenly but the ideas at its heart are conveyed nicely, and make for a unique horror film experience.

If you missed it at Toronto After Dark, you can still see it, as it hits Video On Demand today.

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to see it with the short it was screened with the too-short After the Storm by BJ Verot.

I know I said this in the days leading up to the festival, and have mentioned a few times since as well. I love Toronto After Dark, it consistently introduces me to fascinating and entertaining films that I otherwise may have missed.  This year was no different, and I can’t wait for the next one.

So hopefully, I will see you all next year Toronto… After Dark.

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