Idiotic title aside, Living Dark is an interesting & compelling watch that combines great characters with mysterious & horrific events.
Two brothers have reunited to bury their father having gone their separate ways years before. The reasons are revealed as the movie goes on. They bury their dad on his land & while walking away the older of two, Ted (Chris Cleveland) trips over a piece of wood. A plank that appears to have been hidden under the dirt. He uncovers the rest of the wood to discover a hidden cave.
Excited at this potential find the brothers decide to explore the cave. Inside they find that it has been used regularly by their father but he never mentioned to them. That’s not what really gets their attention though. At the back of the cave they find a chair that is facing a small hole. A hole in the cave wall & from this hole a strong wind is blowing.
The two brothers realise that on the other side of this hole is a virgin cave, a cave that may never have been explored. They decide they are going to get through the hole & into the hidden cave but what awaits them on the other side is something neither could ever have expected.
Living Dark is a tense & character driven story that pays off its build with a shocking finale that leaves you with plenty of questions but still satisfies.
With a small cast, the two leads Ted & Brad (Matthew Alan) are front & centre for most of the film & the pair excel. Early on the movie allows the characters to breathe. Backstory is kept minimal with dialogue & reactions dropped in where necessary to cement the issues that exist between the two. Their conflict is believable & as brothers their annoyances with each other & deep love shines through. Their relationship makes it such a watchable movie but it’s not the only thing going on.
This is still a horror movie & a tension built one too. Its scares are subtle, small things that chill. For example, during the dig they hear what sounds like a rock slide & the wind on the other side stops. It’s something that can be easily explained away. However, that niggling feeling of what might have caused the rock slide won’t go away.
The brother’s reactions to these events, their fear & desperation to get out of the cave. Often over minor things makes each small event feel way worse than it actually is. It builds towards a thrilling finale that doesn’t spell out exactly what is going on but gives enough for you to be happy.
This is a movie that you would expect to be a found-footage horror but thankfully it isn’t. While some of the camera work takes on the style (up close face shots, shaky cameras) it is far more watchable & enjoyable.
A slow-burn of a movie, the first half all about characters & getting into the cave. The second about what is on the other side. Both fit well together resulting in a very good movie!
Living Dark: The Story of Ted the Caver