This year, instead of going with the "8 Films to Die For" format, in which After Dark Films and Lionsgate pick seven Independent/Foreign horror films (and one After Dark Orginal) to briefly show audiences in select theaters, the two decided to do something else instead: why not give audiences 8 Original Movies from After Dark (sponsored by the Scy-Fy Channel) instead of the usual "Horrorfest" route? So with that, for a weekend (or a week), we got "After Dark Originals." Let's take a look at two originals that, whilst not terrible, aren't the best start.
First of all is "Husk", which is a remake of Brett Simmons award winning short film from the director himself. Here, a group of friends end up stranded in a seemingly abandoned cornfield, and find an old farmhouse. Unsurprisingly, they aren't alone, and find themselves being in a game of "10 Little Indians" with murderous, living Scarecrows interested in adding these kids into their ranks.
"Husk" is a decent little movie, with some effective kills and gore, some great suspense, and a story that, while not too original (that is, if you've seen the 80's movie "Scarecrows"), is still interesting. However, the film is decent when it should be good. This is due to some rather poor performances, the kids making several dumb (but expected) decisions, characters that aren't particularly well defined, and a conclusion that left me indifferent. The biggest gripe I have however, is it's tendency to over explain itself, especially with flashbacks telling us about the dark history of the farm house. In this case, less would have been more. Still, it's a decent little movie, and very much worth a rental.
The same can't be said for "Prowl", which fits somewhere between decent and mediocre, and ends up being disappointing. In this movie, Amber (Courtney Hope) dreams of the big city, and decides to bring along her friends to help her find an apartment there. However, accepting a ride in a semi (Really? These kids are pretty much begging to be killed) turns out to be a mistake, as it's harvesting human blood...and them as prey for vampires.
The English language debut of Patrik Syversen (who previously directed the Norweigan "Wrong Turn" rip-off "Manhunt"), "Prowl" is a movie that should have been better than it is. The premise is ripe with potential, the gore flows freely, the acting is strong, and the director definitely shows potential. However, the movie eventually runs out of steam, and the "vampires hunting humans" plot goes from intriguing to botched when the process grows more and more predictable. When the movie does try to throw a curve-ball at the viewer, it's in the form of a plot-twist involving the lead vampire and our main girl, and I'll give you a hint: Remember "The Empire Strikes Back"? It's kind of like that, only here it's insultingly bad.
It's a shame too, as I said, these are movies ripe with potential, and could have been good. As they are though, one is worth renting, and the other should at least be rented with reservations. Not terrible, but not the best way to kick off my "After Dark Originals" experience.