The Dark Tapes (2016) – movie review

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Movie Review by EDF

Stars: Anna Rose Moore, Emilia Ares Zoryan, Brittany Fisheli, Cortney Palm, Jake O’Connor, David Rountree, Brittany Underwood
Director: Vincent J. Guastini, Michael McQuown

The Dark Tapes is an anthology of stories told through found footage. No, come back, this is not just any old boring found footage movie, although whoever has collated all this footage together has a lot of patience and nightmare filled sleepless nights. While most found footage movies tell the one story, this has the advantage of telling several stories and does so in an arena that dares allow for horror, science fiction and mystery to clash into each other.

“Humanity is getting closer. To the truth. To us. We won’t let that happen” This is either a promise or a warning of what The Dark Tapes will reveal. Beginning in 2007, the prologue to the discovery of Dark Tapes by a couple who have found a mess at a small theatre that they rented out to a guy called Steve. They find a video camera and they press play to see what footage has been recorded on it. The footage that they find was shot the previous day. This first story is called To Catch A Demon and we see Martin (David Rountree), Nicole (Cortney Palm) setting themselves up in the theatre for an experiment in trans-dimensional entities. They both explain to the camera, footage shot by Ryan (Jake O’Connor), about their theories and what they want to achieve. Segments from the footage shot of these experiments are interspersed between the other stories.

The second story is called The Hunters & The Hunted and is set in 2011. It follows a couple, David (Stephen Zimpel) and Karen (Shawn Lockie) who have moved in to a new house. After a few days, things start falling over and there is the sound of someone walking on the ceiling. They record the thumping sounds, they throw a ball down a hallway and it returns back by itself, ornaments being moved about. They call in the PIPP (Pacific Investigators of Paranormal Phenomenon) to look into these paranormal activates.

The third story called Cam Girls is from 2013 and involves two women who do cam shows for a lucky viewer. They select Gerry (Aral Gribble) who they force into performing a unique one off show, that is if he wants to be together with the two cam girls.

Amanda’s Revenge, set in 2015, follows Amanda (Brittany Underwood), who is raped at a party. She then develops powers which she cannot understand and doesn’t know where they came from. Her body is taken over each night by unknown forces. She feels paralyzed as a bright light appears and they take her away. She is determined to beat whatever the entity is.

For the limited budget, this movie is far more inventive than some bigger budget movies. The continuing / wraparound story To Catch A Demon has some great ideas but it seems to get weighed down by too much techno-babble that will end up going over your head. While some of the jump scares are effective and the creatures from the other side look great, one of the annoying things that happens with the found footage, is reoccurring static interference that announces that an inter-dimensional creature is about to appear or that something bad is going to happen. This lessens the potential tension and should have been cut tighter to the eventual action on screen. As these are anthology stories, some are better than others, my personal favourite being Amanda’s Revenge and more so for Brittany Underwood’s brilliant performance. Michael McQuown has created a very interesting concept that could easily continue and evolve into an ongoing franchise.

4 out of 6 stars