After Dark (2015)

Very generic start as a couple of “teenagers” drive into the woods to start making out. The guy is wearing his hat backwards and has an earring, so I am immediately hoping to protect the gene-pool with his death.  Holy shit, do I spectacularly get my wish; sadly, some good genetic stock is lost as the girl is no luckier.  However, it was a very effective opening for a movie I just picked because of the cover.

A foursome of young guys swing by to pick up three girls.  When things get tight, one of the rocket scientists suggests taking out the spare tire so everyone will fit.  Surely nothing will become of that.

They miss their turn because one of the guys, Chase (and really, has there ever been a good guy in the movies named Chase?)[1], is being an asshole, and they mistakenly turn a down a deserted road.  Still being a prick, Chase thinks it would be funny to chuck a beer can at a big guy ambling down the dirt road.  It is quite a hoot until the road ends and their tires get caught in some barbed wire.  If only there were some type of tire invented for such occasions.

Image 014The guy, Hector, who could be Danny Trejo’s less attractive hermano, turns out to be a pretty good sport about it, but it is clear they better not pull any shit like that again.  The seventh wheel, Jake, volunteers to walk back to civilization to get help.  Hector suggests they build a fire, so the group actually does something useful for a once.

The guys start telling jokes, but Hector gets very serious and says he has a story.  It is about some teenagers who went up to Diamond Mountain . . . but they were not alone.  A crazy guy came to their camp and killed them one by one.  Everyone freaks out at this knee-slapper because he is one scary dude — although, with lovely teeth.  Seriously, in contrast to long stringy hair, tattoos, ratty facial hair, a wife beater and really bad skin — his teeth are effervescent!  Probably paid for in prison with tax-dollars.

Image 009Chase throws his girlfriend over his shoulder, literally, and the go off into the woods to have the sex.  When he doesn’t have a condom on him (literally or figuratively), Amy sends him back to get one.  Still being an unbelievable asshole, he thinks it would be funny for DeVaughn to go back and scare her instead as she is laying there half naked.  And it is pretty funny — until they’re both murdered.  Sadly, it couldn’t have been Chase, but DeVaughn was black so he had to go first according to the rules of horror movies.

Image 020After searching 5 minutes for Amy and DeVaughn, the remaining group decides to all walk back to town.  After they find Amy’s severed hand, they decide to run back to town.  Or at least try driving it with a flat tire.

After they climb into the SUV, they conveniently find a newspaper that no one had seen when this one vehicle was crammed with 7 people, and the full page story with a color picture was sitting right there.  They learn that Hector is an escaped murderer who had been sent to prison by Crystal’s father.  Coincidentally, after sitting on his ass all day enjoying his budget-busting pension, Crystal’s retired father finally gets around to reading the morning paper at about the same time.  He alerts the currently active, future financial burdens on society in uniform and joins them in a search.

Image 005The group find Jake’s flashlight and we get a flashback of his death.  Finally, for the love of god, Chase gets an arrow shot through him.

Bree, Crystal and Will start to run, but Crystal and Will only have to be faster than Bree as she gets her throat cut.  Then Crystal only has to be faster than Will, as I naturally root for the girl.  They find a home surrounded by several cargo containers.  Then they find themselves surrounded by one container as they are tied to a table inside of one of them.

Their assailant, who we have long ago figured out is not Hector taunts them, running a huge knife across their throats as they scream for mercy.  But the heart wants what it wants, and not-Hector pulls down Will’s pants.  What follow is too gross to describe (unless my word count is running short, of course).

Image 015Hector bursts in to save the day; well, at least Crystal.  He whoops ass on non-Hector, not entirely successfully, until Crystal has a chance to put that knife in his back.  Hector tells her that the story he told in camp was about his sons being murdered by this crazy family in the mountains.  He was convicted for the murders of his sons, but busted out of prison after 5 years to take his revenge.

Some have complained that it was too slow, but I found it to be a solid ride.  The sole exception being the character of Chase — why does every horror movie have to have at least one character that is such an unbelievable asshole that no one would want to associate with him (and why do hot chicks always flock to them (of course, that is based on reality so I really can’t complain))?

Image 026Overall, it looked great.  It was well cast and the performances were good, although it took the girls a little while to settle into their roles, I thought.  Were there cliches?  Yes, to the tune of aplenty.  But I don’t deduct points for that.

Time well spent.

Post- Post:

  • [1] I did think of Chase Edmunds in Season 3 of 24 — a good guy who even shared a fate with Amy.  Although he lived to scream about it.
  • Title Analysis — How is it that such a natural title has not been used before?  Ever, as far as I can see.  It’s like The Eagles — I can understand Toad the Wet Sprocket being available, but how had no big act ever been called The Eagles?

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