Sunday, June 23, 2013

After Dark Originals: Dark Circles – Please, tell me that isn't a fetus.

Runtime: 87 minutes
Release Date: ?
Rating: R

"Dark Circles" starts with new mom Penny at home alone with her baby. After hearing a noise in the hallway, she peers outside and sees nothing. When she opens the door though, she finds a young woman in desperate need of help. Penny brings her in, and when she turns her back, the woman removes a dead dog from underneath her dress and disappears. When she reached under her dress, I literally screamed, "please, don't let that be a fetus!" Penny later finds her hovering over the baby, and the woman runs at her screaming before she wakes and discovers it was all a dream.

Penny and her husband Alex (Jonathon Schaech, "Prom Night") decide that now is the perfect time to escape life in the city for life in the suburbs. Though she doesn't seem to have a job and he gives up his job in a band, they have money to buy a huge house in the country. The only problem is that the house seems a little off. They find a charred baby doll in the grill, and Alex later finds some random junk arranged in different areas in his practice space plus a larger number of images that seem to show the same girl in different places.

If you decided to avoid "Dark Circles" because of its affiliation with After Dark, don't be afraid. And, if you think that it's just another tale of a couple moving to the country and haunted by a random ghost, think again. "Dark Circles" has so many different stories going on that your head might spin.

This film does a good job of letting viewers think that one thing is happening before revealing another twist on top of another twist. Alex and Penny quickly discover that having a new baby is harder work than they thought. After their child reverse cycles, they find that they can't sleep at night because the baby doesn't sleep at night. When the baby can't sleep at all, the two have problems carrying on with their lives.

"Dark Circles" leaves you wondering if the house is truly haunted, if the couple are just sleep deprived, or if there is something even darker going on. Alex eventually grows so desperate to get even the smallest amount of sleep that he hires a cashier at the local grocery store to watch their child for the night. After something unusual happens, they think the woman simply disappeared into the night, but the viewer knows a little different.

It's hard to talk about "Dark Circles" without giving away the ending, which is something I don't want to do. Schaech is at his best in this horror flick. While he has a tendency to play some darker characters, he really comes across here as a new father who just can't cope with giving up his old life, finding a balance between what he wants and what he has, and handling the issues of living in the suburbs. If you haven't seen it yet, go rent it now.

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