Dark Windows (2023) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

Dark Windows (2023) Review

Horrorific content by adrian on August 22nd, 2023 | Movie Review | Slasher, Home Invasion, Survival, Cabin in the Woods, Thriller, Maniac, Stalker

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It's about a group of teenagers who take a trip to an isolated summerhouse in the countryside, but which turns into a horrific nightmare when a masked man begins to terrorize them in the most gruesome ways.

Dark Windows was directed by Alex Herron (Leave) and stars Annie Hamilton (The Wolf of Snow Hollow), Rory AlexanderRachel FowlerJóel SæmundssonMorten Holst (Leave, Breeder), Vanessa BorgliAnna Bullard, and Grace Binford Sheene.

Dark Windows Review

"Dark Windows" may sound like the lens through which the enigmatic Dark Knight could peer into the mysterious Dark Shadows. Yet, in reality, it could be more imaginative. The film falls within the realm of slashers, opening with an enticing prologue before leaping backward in time a few days earlier, as is often the case.

In this instance, a few days earlier marks Ali's (Grace Binford Sheene) moment of sobriety as she embarks on a car ride with her friends Peter (Rory Alexander), Tilly (Anna Bullard), and Monica (Annie Hamilton), whose inhibitions aren't bound by sobriety. A fateful accident transpires, inevitably claiming one of them.

Following a tense encounter with a relative of the deceased at the funeral, the remaining trio seeks solace in a rural ancestral abode to mend their frayed lives and allow the tumultuous matters back home to subside. Unbeknownst to them, a sinister plan unfolds, veering in an entirely different direction.

The trajectory of "Dark Windows," penned by Ulvrik Kraft, whose credits include "Saigon Marine" and "Be Still My Heart," and directed by Alex Herron, known for the satanic thriller "Leave," is evident quite early on. Consequently, when interpersonal conflicts among the trio unfold, cell service vanishes, and an eerie shrine to Ali materializes in the living room, the direction becomes entirely predictable.

The primary flaw is the insufficient pool of potential victims for a slasher film. Unlike narratives like "I Know What You Did Last Summer," which capitalize on a broader roster of potential targets, "Dark Windows" revolves around a mere three individuals. The absence of additional characters dropping by or locals investigating the peculiar house weakens the film's potential for suspense and tension.

A fleeting attempt is made to insinuate a supernatural force at play, potentially Ali's ghost, causing the strange occurrences. However, this lukewarm notion loses its impact due to earlier revelations of a masked antagonist and a prologue that firmly established the threat as human rather than anything supernatural. This decision results in a few predictable jump scares.

In the final act, the trio finally comprehends the danger they're in. Naturally, they thwarted their escape route, locking them in with the menace. The film gains momentum as the killer pursues them through the house and nearby woods. One could only wish this pulse-pounding intensity had been introduced earlier, but this climactic sequence proves the most engaging.

Given the scant selection of suspects, the killer's true identity may not come as a shock. However, the motive's unveiling and the descent into "Hostel"-esque brutality might polarize viewers. Coincidentally, this echoes a theme from another recent film, "Waking Nightmare." While not as blood-soaked as "Handyman's Special" in "Waking Nightmare," "Dark Windows" does feature a unique death involving some vodka.

Worth Watching?

Teetering on the thin line between horror and thriller, "Dark Windows" offers some moments of intrigue, though they remain largely insufficient to elevate it beyond being merely watchable. The filmmakers thank fellow Norwegian Tommy Wirkola but really should have enlisted him for script revision before filming.

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