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Monday, August 29, 2016
It seems there's this thing called "delayed gratification" which heightens one's anticipation of an impending pleasure by temporarily denying it. DARK COVE (2016) stretches this concept to its limit.
It eventually morphs into a mildly interesting thriller at some point during its second half, but really makes us earn that (very) mild interest by being one of the most boring movies ever for at least a full 45 minutes or so.
During that time, we're treated to what amounts to a painfully uneventful camping trip in the Canadian wilds (you know, just like those camping trips that neither you nor any of your friends ever wanted to go on in real life) by a group of five young people so obnoxious that we thoroughly despise them all less than five minutes into the film and want to see them get killed as soon and as horribly as possible.
"Joey", the party-hearty cut-up who's supposed to be funny, is especially horrible-death-worthy. But we also learn to loathe their full-of-himself leader Quinn (director and co-writer Rob Willey), Quinn's bland girfriend Lacey (Jules Cotton), her equally bland friend Jen (Montanna McNalley), and Quinn's alpha-male buddy Donnie (Cameron Crosby).
What really makes these people so insufferable is the fact that, for the first three quarters of the film, they never shut up. It seems that some screenwriters these days are still having their characters jabber away about mundane crap (much of it sounds improvised) in hopes that they'll accidentally come up with another "Royale with cheese" exchange or something. But in this case it's just endless drivel that you wouldn't even be interested in if you knew these people.
As we watch them drinking beer and ingesting various illicit substances around the campfire--and wait patiently for them to start dying--we keep wondering which variation of the "city kids on an ill-fated camping trip" movie this is going to be.
That is, we wonder whether they'll get stalked by a slasher-killer or urban legend boogeyman, or run into some local yokels who are up to no good, or just have it out amongst themselves due to bad interpersonal vibes or a violent reaction to shrooms or something.
(Strangely, the script is devoid of the usual ominous foreshadowing save for a minor musical sting here and there.)
The plot starts to thicken (finally!) when they encounter three Australians camping right down the beach from them--a couple of brawny surfers in wet suits and their hippy-dippy friend--and we wonder if one of these guys is going to take offense at some slight and go haywire with an axe or whatever.
We're especially suspicious of Chase (Ty Stokoe), the muscular bald-pated surfer who looks as though he might be a hair's breadth from flaking out.
Naturally, something does eventually occur which leads to a big-time flake-out by one or more of the principal characters, and it's here that I'm loath to divulge any more details. Suffice it to say that bloody axe-murder death and other unpleasantries ensue, bodies are disposed of, a concerned forest ranger shows up, and everybody get stalked.
But none of it ever really goes anywhere storywise, and just when you think things might be getting more interesting the whole thing comes to an abrupt end.
DARK COVE wants to be a suspenseful, nail-biting thriller, but there just isn't much "there" there. While it's markedly superior to many I've seen along the same lines (THE EVIL WOODS and MOTOR HOME MASSACRE skulk to mind) and much of the photography is quite good, it's the sort of time-waster that really does make you feel as though you've wasted your time.
Now on Digital HD and Canadian Cable VOD
Order Dark Cove on iTunes
Order Dark Cove on Amazon Instant
Order Dark Cove on Google Play
Order Dark Cove on Vimeo
The iTunes release of Dark Cove exclusively includes a feature-length commentary with writer-director Rob Willey, a gag reel and audition footage.