Another addition into the found footage genre, The Dark Tapes is an anthology horror movie which is about as entertaining as watching paint dry. Having found much success on the festival circuits and earning several positive reviews along the way, The Dark Tapes was picked up for US Distribution by the Epic Pictures Group. However it now seems that it’ll soon be reaching our shores to haunt the shelves of many retailers around the UK. Much like the rats that travelled over here on the merchant ships hundreds of years ago, all this writer can say is avoid this like the plague.
The main culprit behind this monstrosity is Michael McQuown who not only directed the vast majority of the film (Vincent J. Guastini took on directorial duties for the segment titled “To Catch a Demon”) but was also responsible for the writing, producing, editing and the cinematography, to this poorly conceived mess.
With the found footage genre having had its fair amount of critics in recent years, movies like Unfriended, Creep and VHS have shown how the genre is still very much alive. Through innovative filming techniques, clever script writing and genre bending antics, the found footage genre still has plenty of mileage behind it with the right people at the helm. Unfortunately, The Dark Tapes consists of nothing but uninspiring directing, poor writing and a whole load of weak performances.
With a running time of 98 minutes, one could be mistaken for thinking it was a lot longer due to its slow, apathetic pace. Consisting of 4 segments titled, “To Catch a Demon”, “The Hunters & The Hunted”, “Cam Girls” and “Amanda’s Revenge”, we’re treated to many familiar horror tropes such as alien abduction, paranormal activities and a dash of murder. With a couple of segments containing some interesting twist and turns, it’s never enough to keep one engaged due to the unimaginative direction.
With some costumes looking like they’ve been taken straight from the set of a 1980’s Doctor Who episode, the fear factor is nowhere to be seen. With the exception of a couple of cattleprod moments, where you’re shocked into submission through the usual quiet, quiet, bang scenarios, The Dark Tapes doesn't offer enough to entice horror fans in any way, shape or form. The suspense is limited, the blood is scarce and the nudity is nowhere to be seen. If you’re going to have a segment titled Cam Girls and not even reveal a bit of nipple then you know something is going seriously wrong!
Overall, The Dark Tapes is a colossal waste of time. With performances that would be better suited to a porno you’d find on the top shelf of a seedy newsagents and a script that’s about as thrilling as anthrax, there’s truly nothing of value to see. However if you’re truly a dark connoisseur of horror and feel the need to check this movie out then be our guest…but be afraid, be very afraid. This writer’s advice: Avoid at all costs!
THE DARK TAPES / CERT: TBC / DIRECTORS & SCREENPLAY: MICHAEL MCQUOWN, VINCENT J..GUASTINI / STARRING: CORTNEY PALM, EMILIA ZORYAN, BRITTANY UNDERWOOD, DAVID HULL / RELEASE DATE: TBA