Review: Dark Feed / Cert: 18 / Director: Michael Rasmussen, Shawn Rasmussen / Screenplay: Michael Rasmussen, Shawn Rasmussen / Starring: Victoria Nugent, Bree Elrod, Dayna Cousins / Release Date: Out Now
Where would modern horror films be without disused mental institutions and aspiring filmmakers? The two genre stalwarts combine in typical style for Dark Feed, a low-budget horror flick set in a dilapidated psychiatric hospital where a crew of would-be filmmakers gather to make their movie. Geddit – it’s a low-budget horror film set in a mental institution about a bunch of people making a low-budget horror film set in a mental institution!
Off the bat, we were pleasantly surprised to find that Dark Feed is not a found footage film. There are only so many identikit handheld footage pieces one can suffer through before it becomes a bore. If it’s that sort of thing you’re after, Grave Encounters 1 or 2 will suit you just fine – otherwise, steer clear of anything that boasts both mental institutions and found footage. The ‘aspiring filmmakers’ angle is another one that is rapidly becoming tiresome and overdone - a subgenre which shows no sign of going away any time soon either. The last enjoyable horror film set in a mental institution, by the way, was Wrong Turn 4. Make of that what you will. The last enjoyable horror film about a team of wannabe filmmakers however? Honestly, we’re drawing a blank. The Blair Witch Project, maybe.
Shooting their low-budget horror feature in a grubby old institution with a shadowy past (is there any other kind?), our filmmaker heroes encounter more than they’d bargained for when the hospital’s old ghosts begin to make their presence known. As the crew begins to uncover the dubious methods once favoured by the institution’s ‘unorthodox’ (read ‘sadistic’) head of psychiatry, they rapidly start losing their own minds. Can they escape before they fall victim to the building’s insidious forces? It also begs the question – are there even any working psychiatric hospitals out there in horror-land anymore? They don’t seem to have the best track record where not being haunted or full of inbred cannibals is concerned.
Utterly unmemorable but not otherwise bad, Dark Feed is atmospheric, spooky and occasionally gory. It doesn’t earn the John Carpenter name check on the DVD cover (even if it is only his flawed Ward) but horror films rarely do, these days. It’s a dark feed, sure, but not a very filling one.