Dark Was the Night, movie (2014) - Film review by KadmonDark Was the Night, movie (2014) - Film review by Kadmon
image © Maiden Woods Films

Article updated: 2021.05.23

The Dark Was the Night (2014) is a horror film. The movie was reviewed by Kadmon.

Product: Dark Was the Night, movie (2014)

Original title: Dark Was the Night

Series: -

Setting: alternate Earth

Product type: Film, Genre: horror, Style: horror, suspense, creature (Wendigo)

Release: Premiere: 2014.10.16 (Screamfest Horror Film Festival), Release: 2015.07.24

Reviewer: Kadmon, Type: Male, 40s, Preferences: Immersive, logical story, consistent setting, prefers surprises to spoilers, prefers establishing elements before referencing them

Watched: very recent (2021.05), first time

Rating: Weak (2- out of 3 points), Enjoyment: Weak (2- out of 3 points)

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This is my review of Dark Was the Night, a horror movie from 2014. It's about a small town being terrorised by a creature. The Dark Was the Night film is not very interesting, so I only recommend it to avid fans of the genre.

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Review (spoiler-free) - Dark Was the Night, movie (2014)

As I like atmospheric horror movies, I've been recommended this film. I tried to avoid any further information before watching it, as I wanted to see it with a fresh mind. I didn't watch the trailer.

The Dark Was the Night film is about a small town being terrorised by a creature

The story starts good. I liked the first half Dark Was the Night movie, but it goes down from there. There are some character arcs, although they are not very well done. The story mostly works because people act stupidly.

The cinematography is not perfect, but watchable. Most of the shots are boring and desaturated. It's not that much of a problem, as the story is good enough. The movie builds up the suspense well, although the ending is not satisfying.

The characters are well established. We get a lot of information about the background and personality. The actors are good, they portray the characters well.

The music is probably okay, I can't remember it at all.

Dark Was the Night is an averagely boring horror film, but fans of the genre might enjoy it.

My experience

I was not satisfied with Dark Was the Night (2014). I prefer well thought, complete stories, but this movie didn't deliver that.

Rating: Weak (2- out of 3 points). Dark Was the Night is a not well-made film. It doesn't look good, and the second half of the story is not very well thought of. I almost gave it a 1 out of 3.

Enjoyment: Weak (2- out of 3 points). Dark Was the Night caught my interest in the first half of the story. I also liked the concept.

Rewatchability: There's a chance. If you liked it for the first time, I think it's due to the atmosphere.

Chance of watching it again: Nope. Now that I know the story, and that it leads to nowhere, there's no need for me to watch it again.

Chance of watching a sequel: Probably. I'm an optimist, hoping that the sequel would be better.

Dark Was the Night, movie (2014) - Film review by KadmonDark Was the Night, movie (2014) - Film review by Kadmon
image © Maiden Woods Films

Will you enjoy this?

If you like mystery or thriller movies, you might like Dark Was the Night.

If you like horror or action thriller movies (Alien, The Thing), you might like the film, although there are not many action scenes or scary scenes in the Dark Was the Night movie.

If you prefer investigation or scientific research stories (Andromeda Strain, Twin Peaks), Dark Was the Night is not an ideal choice.

Watching for plot points

If you are interested in creature investigation stories, I think it's worth watching the Dark Was the Night movie for the plot points.

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Dark Was the Night, movie (2014) - Film review by KadmonDark Was the Night, movie (2014) - Film review by Kadmon
image © Maiden Woods Films

 Review with spoilers - Dark Was the Night, movie (2014)

It looks like there's a blue filter on the movie in the daytime, probably show that it's cold out there, but it makes the movie look desaturated. When they are indoors at night, there's a yellow filter, but that doesn't make things better.

I like it that the sheriff is the skeptic protagonist, something that HPL often used - he comes up with explanations for the strange things, so the audience has to disagree with, making it easier to suspend our disbelief. It works up until halfway through, when the sheriff loses it, and starts to believe in old folk tales. Yet, he still doesn't tell anyone anything, keeping everyone in the dark.

It was also good that the suspense was slowly built up, and that the movie relied on suspense instead of jump scares. We have seen footprints, traces, clawmarks, we have heard tales of monsters, all leading to the final showdown. This setup worked up until the attack of the three hunters, I felt that was not ideally set up, and too sudden, especially as later the creature switches back to smaller scale scares again. A more linear ramping up would have been more efficient. They didn't show the creature in full until the very end, although I probably would have preferred if they didn't show it at all, as it didn't look convincing. The legs of the creature looked okay, they show that for a couple of times before the full reveal, that would have been enough.

Cover

The cover of the movie is probably better than the movie itself. It looks interesting, and while it doesn't say much, it also doesn't spoil the movie.

The trailer

The trailer for the Dark Was the Night film makes it look a lot more action-packed and interesting, than it actually is. However, if you'd like to get a taste of the movie, it's not a bad trailer.

Promise of the first scene

There's a forestry crew somewhere in the woods. They end their day, but one team didn't check in. A guy checks on them, but finds them dead. He is also killed by something. As I already know this will be a creature feature, this is good, we get to the story without a long setup. They didn't show the corpses or the creature, and that's a good start. I assume there will be a creature that will terrorise a small town. We'll get to know the residents, then they will start to die. In the end, the creature will be killed by a hero.

Execution: We got something like that, for sure.

Plot summary / Synopsis

We see loggers attacked by a creature.

There's a small town (Maiden Woods). The sheriff (Kevin Durand as Paul Shields) and his deputy (Lukas Haas as Donny Saunders) go to investigate a missing horse, but he thinks the owner just left the gate open. The next morning, they find strange footprints, but the sheriff thinks it's a prank. They realise that the deers are missing from the woods. The sheriff catches a glimpse of something big, but he cannot find it in the woods. A large flock of bird is seen. Pets go missing. There's something that stirs the animals at a farm, but when the sheriff gets there, it escapes. The sheriff finds a dead deer, but the creature gets away with it. The creature attacks a couple of hunters, killing two of them.

It looks like the sheriff had a kid who seems to be missing, although they don't speak about that. During the movie, we get to know that he died in an accident, and the sheriff blames himself for that.

The sheriff asks for reinforcements, just before a snowstorm hits the town. During the storm, the creature breaks into the house of the sheriff, but they scare it away. They gather everyone in the church, as a last stand. The creature breaks in, and the sheriff shoots it. Then they realise that an army of these creatures are swarming over the church. Then the movie ends.

The setting

Contemporary alternate Earth. There's a strange creature that lives in the woods.

Dark Was the Night, movie (2014) - Film review by KadmonSputnik, movie (2020) - Film review by Kadmon
image © Maiden Woods Films

The creature

The creature is bipedal, furry and larger than a human. It's very fast. It's very strong, it can grab an adult deer and run away with it. It can walk so silently, it can walk behind people looking for it,  without alerting them. It can crawl upside down on the ceiling, so it can't weight much. In the end it looks like a lizardman, although in the beginning, it looked like it's hairy.

It puts the remains of its prey high up on trees.

They think that the creatures lived deep inside the forest, before the loggers scared them away, into the town.

The creators seem to base the creatures on the Wendigo myth, but there's no real connection. They did attack during a snowstorm, but it seems like a coincidence. They don't eat any men, they just kill some. They don't even infect people with cannibalistic desires.

The message of the story

I'm not sure. "Always call for reinforcements as soon as you can"?

The structure of the story

The scenes of the Dark Was the Night film are played in sequence, with a very few flashbacks. It has the usual arc of the dramatic structure - beginning, action, resolution, with a very abrupt ending.

 

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Things I liked

  • The sheriff and the deputy were good characters. They were kind of wasted on this movie.

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How does it compare to the other works of the creators?

I haven't seen anything else from the writer (Tyler Hisel) or from the director (Jack Heller). The script was not entirely bad, but the director could have done a better job.

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Dark Was the Night, movie (2014) - Film review by KadmonDark Was the Night, movie (2014) - Film review by Kadmon
image © Maiden Woods Films

Problems with the story - Dark Was the Night, movie (2014)

I mostly liked the beginning of the Dark Was the Night, but then it started to get boring, and the ending felt empty. At 1.20, I started to feel bored, and there was still 10 minutes of the movie.

The title

The title is very generic, it's not meaningful, and doesn't really add anything to the story. The nights in the movie aren't any darker than a regular night is. And regular nights aren't bright either.

Problematic elements

In the first scene, the creature breaks through the back of the car, crawls through the back seats, and tears the driver apart in a matter of a second or so. This is too quick, seeing that this is not some supernatural entity.

The footprints are too muddy on the road. It's okay that they show up on the ground, but on a road the mud would wear off after a couple of steps. If they were seen in the snow, that would have been a better choice.

The sheriff just goes into the woods without telling it to anybody through his radio. He also leaves the kid alone in the car, without locking him in. It's not very responsible.

The sheriff doesn't share anything with his deputy, or anyone else, even if it would seem important.

The creature attacks three hunters in daytime, yet, it doesn't attack the lone sheriff in the night. The attack on the hunters would have been believable, if they were drunk, wandering into the woods in the night, without guns.

When the sheriff started to believe in the creature, it went a little bit too far for me.

The sheriff's deputy got a little bit too close to the blond girl in the church without establishing anything.

The self-doubt of the sheriff in the church is annoying. We got enough about his background previously, it doesn't need to spelled out.

When they showed us that there are plenty of creatures remaining, it robbed us a proper ending. First, they will probably all die, but if they didn't, we still won't know, because the movie just ends. This means that the proper ending of the story is at least after the assault of the church ends, but probably after they defeat the creatures. If the heroes all get killed in the church, it means this was not their story, so the whole movie was moot. The creators should have told us the story of those who actually defeat the creatures, not the story of those who just die by their hands.

Unanswered questions

How did the creatures remain unnoticed in such large numbers?

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Possibilities of improvement

  • Use less distracting colour filters.
  • Cut the part where he says that he'll go to the nearby town, because he doesn't go, and that plot point is just dropped.
  • Cut the part when the creature breaks into his house, it doesn't go anywhere. They could just round up everybody and go to the church straight away.
  • Cut the self-doubt scene of the sheriff in the church.
  • Don't show the creature in full detail, even at the end. We don't need to see it, unless it's something stellar. And this creature isn't.
  • Probably cut the ending, where they show the swarm of creatures.

How it could have been better?

It's okay to make the sheriff a sceptic, but he should be logical. After he found proof for the existance of the creature, he should have told it his deputy, and called for reinforcements, instead of just waiting for something to happen. The help won't be able to arrive in time anyway due to the storm, so he could call them earlier.

Give us a proper ending. Leaving a story when it starts to get intense is not a proper ending. Get us to somewhere when the story gets resolved in some way.

Truth to be told, apart from the strange filter choices, the first half of the movie was good. It would be useful to reshoot the second half, with a better script.

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Dark Was the Night, movie (2014) - Film review by KadmonDark Was the Night, movie (2014) - Film review by Kadmon
image © Maiden Woods Films

Uses for the film - Dark Was the Night, movie (2014)

Plot

  • There's a creature in the woods, that preys on animals, scaring the wildlife away. It also attacks a small town.

Scenes

  • The opening scene could be a good setup for any creature based horror story.
  • The scenes with the signs of the creature can be good setup scenes for creatures similar to a werewolf.

Scenarios - Role-playing game

 

Scenarios - Wargame

  • There's a large building with multiple entrances (doors, windows). Civilians are there, with a couple of warriors, who have weapons. There's a creature that wants to break in. There's a one-way basement, but if people go there, they can't escape if the creature gets in. The playing area is the building, and one movement away from that on the outside. If a civilian leaves the building, and gets to one movement away, leaving the playing area, it is considered to be on the run. Put those models in a group.  First, the defending player sets up, anywhere in the playing area. Then the attacker deploys the creature on the edge of the playing area. The defenders win if they kill the creature, and more than half of the defenders is alive. The attacker wins if they kill at least half of the defenders. It's a draw if they can't kill the creature, but more than half of the defenders get away.
    • To make it harder, after the creature is killed, roll a d6 dice, on a 1-3, there's another creature waiting outside. The creature will spend an equal number of turns outside to the number of running models. For every running model, roll a d6 dice, on a 1-3, they are spared, otherwise, they are killed. The people in the building can spend this time to reinforce the doors, windows, tend wounds, reload weapons. Then the next creature is deployed on the edge of the playing area. If every defender is killed in the playing area, roll for every running model. Then roll for attacker reinforcement, and if another creature comes, roll again for the running models. Repeat this until no attacker reinforcement comes, then the game ends.

Miniatures - 1/50-1/60 (28-32mm scale)

The humans: Human-sized humans.

The creature: Large reptilian humanoid.

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Similar stories - Dark Was the Night, movie (2014)

Novels

Adam Nevill: The Ritual (2011): A mysterious creature (an old god) terrorises people in the woods.

Stephen King: Cycle of the Werewolf (1983): A mysterious creature (werewolf) terrorises a small town.

Movies

Antlers (2021): Another take on the Wendigo myth.

Ravenous (1999): Another take on the Wendigo myth. I feel that Ravenous was better, but it's another genre.

Silver Bullet (1985): A mysterious creature (werewolf) terrorises a small town. Based on Cycle of the Werewolf novel.

The Ritual (2017): A mysterious creature (an old god) terrorises people in the woods. Based on The Ritual novel.

Tremors (1990): A mysterious creature (giant worm) terrorises a small town. Tremors was a more enjoyable take on the story.

Wendigo (2001): Another take on the Wendigo myth.

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Frequently asked questions - Dark Was the Night, movie (2014)

Is Dark Was the Night based on a true story?

Dark Was the Night is very loosely based on the story of the Devil's Footprints, that happened in Topsham, England in 1855. At that time they've found a lot of strange footprints in the snow.

What is the creature in Dark Was the Night?

The creature in Dark Was the Night movie is some kind of lizardman. People call it a Wendigo, but it doesn't have much to do with the Wendigo myth.

Is Dark was the night scary?

Dark Was the Night is an atmospheric suspense story. You might consider some parts as scary. There are no jump scares, if you are looking for that kind of movie.

Is Dark Was the Night film based on a book or comics?

No, Dark Was the Night is not based on either books or comics.

Is Dark Was the Night a good movie?

I wouldn't say that Dark Was the Night is a good movie, but it's watchable. If you like horror movies, you might like it.

Where can I watch Dark Was the Night online? Is Dark Was the Night available on Netflix? Is Dark Was the Night on Amazon? Is Dark Was the Night on Hulu?

As of 2021.05.11, Dark Was the Night is available on Amazon, Google Play, Hulu.

Is there a part 2 to the movie Dark Was the Night? / Does Dark Was the Night have a sequel?

As of 2021.05.23, there's no sequel to Dark Was the Night. However, the film ended in a way that opens the possibility of a sequel.

Are there any movies about the Wendigo?

In the Similar stories section I list some of the other movies about the Wendigo.

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Resources - Dark Was the Night, movie (2014)

Official

Dark Was the Night (on Archive.org): Official website. (2018: It was taken over.)

Information

IMDB: Dark Was the Night (2014): Database article.

WikiPedia: Dark Was the Night (2014 film): Database article.

Letterboxd: Dark Was the Night 2014: Database article.

Rotten Tomatoes: Dark Was the Night: Database article.

Reviews with no spoilers - Dark Was the Night film (2014)

JPRoscoe (for Basement Rejects): Dark Was the Night (2014): Review article about the Dark Was the Night film with minor spoilers.Ł/§

levyathan (for Cinegore): Dark Was The Night (2014) (in Hungarian): Review article about the Dark Was the Night movie with no spoilers, in Hungarian.

English version by Google Translate

Matt Molgaard (for Addicted to Horror Movies): ‘Dark Was the Night’ is One of the Greatest Wendigo Films Ever Made (Review): Review article about the Dark Was the Night film with minor spoilers.§

table9mutant (for Cinema Parrot Disco): Monster Hunter (2014), Lifeforce (1985) & The Forest (2016) Reviews: Review article about the Dark Was the Night film with no spoilers.

Reviews with spoilers - Dark Was the Night film (2014)

Michael Allen (for 28 Days Later Analysis): Cast Out the Devil and Dark Was the Night: A Film Review: Review article of the Dark Was the Night movie, with spoilers.§

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Buying the product - Dark Was the Night, movie (2014)

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Have you seen the Dark Was the Night film? How do you like the movie? Would you recommend it to others? Do you know reviews or resources you'd like to add? What further thoughts do you have about it? Tell your opinion in the comments!

 

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