In 1855 around East/South Devon residents awoke to find hoof-like footprints scattered in the heavy snowfall that had occurred overnight. Spread over a huge expanse of space (up to 100 miles) these tracks were believed to be the footprints of the devil.
This phenomenon is known as The Devil’s Footprints.
Dark Was the Night is loosely based on this story & focuses on the small town of Maiden Woods that is terrorised by a mysterious creature. Sheriff Paul Shields is the man in charge but is dealing with his own personal traumas that has ripped his family apart.
For who knows why reasons this was listed as Monster Hunter when I watched it. A stupid title that doesn’t reflect the quality within.
A slow-burn of a movie that keeps you guessing until the final 15 minutes, in fact you won’t actually get a clear shot of the creature until the very end. It helps build mystery even if the payoff isn’t quite as good as you might have hoped (average looking CGI).
As animals go missing, birds flee & hoof prints are found in the snow the paranoia within the town increases & the Sheriff Shields has to prove that he can look after the town while dealing with his own demons at the same time. His investigation mirrors our own with every discovery & step taken by us as viewers too. It’s not about in-your face scares but more about building tension & atmosphere. The town is a haunting place especially at night & the music/sound effects is used expertly to make every event feel important.
Dark Was the Night is a movie telling two stories…the first about the creature in the woods & the other about Sheriff Paul Shields. One of his sons died & he blames himself, he couldn’t protect him so figures he can’t protect the town. His efforts to try & carry on while being estranged from his wife & hiding his pain from his other younger son is a compelling watch. The actor, Kevin Durand, is excellent & you’ll connect to him easily even if the doom & gloom feels like it might be getting a bit much at some stages.
The rest of the cast do a fair enough job, some stories don’t’ quite resonate such as that of the Deputy & his New York past which takes a religious left turn that is just confusing. Some characters are just there to talk about old legends & stories so the Sherriff has more to think about!
The biggest flaw within the movie though is probably the monster itself. Throughout you only get fleeting shots & it keeps you guessing about just what you’re going to see & when you finally do it’s a bit of CGI mess. It doesn’t look particularly terrifying & for all its smarts & speed can be dispatched fairly easily (although there is a final twist in the tail right at the end which was pretty good).
Still it’s forgivable enough as the build is just so well done. It’s an exciting movie that is all about building tension & sympathy for the main characters in the face of something unexplainable.
Dark Was The Night