Saturday, July 22, 2017

Dark Country (2009) Honeymoon To The Twilight Zone

Detour for two on their honeymoon to hell.

Inspired by the Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and EC Comics, i.e., it's Tales from the Crypt series, Thomas Jane and Tab Murphy (Gorillas in the Mist (1988)) fashioned the screenplay from Murphy's eerie short story.

"I wanted to make a movie that was for people who enjoy movies that are off the beaten track, you know?" said Jane. "I wanted to make a movie for fans of cult films, for fans of "The Twilight Zone", for guys who stayed up late to watch "The Outer Limits" when they were probably too young to do that." Thomas Jane

Directed by Thomas Jane (Jonni Nitro (2000)), with cinematography by Geoff Boyle (Enemy at the Gates (2001), Mutant Chronicles (2008)), and the films music was by Elew, and Film Editing was by John Lafferty and
Robert K. Lambert.

The film was shot in 3D high definition and 2D high definition, and according to Wikipedia "Wanting to have as many graphic novel elements Jane brought on-board comic artist Tim Bradstreet to work as the visual consultant and production designer in addition to Berni Wrightson, who provided the designs for the character Bloodyface, and Ray Zone as the 3D supervisor. Jane chose to do the film in 3D as a way to prove to the filmmaking community that you could create a low-budget film in 3D and have it turn out looking great." 

I'm not a fan of 3D, nor for that matter a fan of most current popular comic centric cinema, so I never saw this upon it's initial release. In 2D on the home screen it's entertaining enough.

The film stars Thomas Jane (Boogie Nights (1997), Magnolia (1999),The Punisher (2004), Give 'em Hell Malone (2009)) as Dick, Lauren German (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)) as Gina, Ron Perlman (Romeo Is Bleeding (1993), The City of Lost Children (1995)) as Deputy Thompson, Con Schell as Double, Chris Browning as Stranger, and Rene P. Mousseux as Crime Scene Trooper.

Dick (Thomas Jane)
Gina (Lauren German)
Dick and Gina. Lust/Love at first sight. Dick just passing thru Vegas. Gina, girl of his dreams. Gina ex Cheetahs stripper. Gina, working a casino table, looking for a way out. Hitched. A quickie Vegas marriage. A hot sheet motel, consummation. The Scorpion.

Scorpion Motel Sequence

They decide to take Gina's '61 Dodge Polara and head to Dicks hometown, Sonoma California. Desert in all 360. Beat the heat drive at night. The The Big Chief Gas Station/Diner. Top off the tank. A stranger at the counter warns Dick to stay on the interstate. The backroads double back, they dead end.

Big Chief Last Gas Diner

stay on the interstate

Dick and Gina take a shortcut anyway. The headlights spot a road sign for Searchlight 25 miles. They took the wrong fork. They make a U-ey. The road is deserted. A big half moon lights up the desert. Dick shuts off the headlights and drives by moonlight. Gina feels hot. Gina feels frisky. Gina grabs a cube of ice from the cooler. Gina runs it over her face and lips. Over her nipples, and down between her legs. She grabs Dick's hand and puts it between her legs. Dick puts the pedal to the metal. Working together she gets herself off as Dick gets the sled to 100 mph.

Gina Getting Herself Off

When Dick turns the headlights back on there is a guy standing in the middle of the road. Dick swerves to miss him and goes off the shoulder. The man was in an accident his flipped over car is just down the road. The man has no recognizable face. Dick tells Gina to call 911. She can't get service. They pick up the guy and put him in the back seat. Looking for a light of a hospital, they drive to a dead end.

They make another U-ey and head back they way they came. Dick and Gina argue about getting lost.

The bloody-faced man in the back comes to and screams. He gets hysterical. He tries to strangle Dick. It's all Gina can do to keep the car on the road. Slamming on the breaks Gina steers to the shoulder. Dick and the man tumble out of the car.

Dick grabs a rock and smacks him upside the head. Then keeps pounding him until he's dead. Dick not thinking too clearly tells Gina they have to bury the body and forget it ever happened. Driving off on a dirt road they dig a shallow grave with a tire iron and dump the body in.

While Gina is scooping dirt into the hole Dick goes and gets a drink out of their cooler. He rummages around in her handbag and finds a gun. When Gina gets back into the car he asks her about it. She tells him about working at Cheetah's when she had first gotten to Vegas, and about the creep that was obsessed with her. Dick naturally asks Gina if the guy they just buried was the creep. She replies that without a face it;s hard to tell.

Dick and Gina finally pull into a rest area and clean up. While washing up in the men's room Dick discovers that he lost his watch. Gina tell him to forget about it but Dick tells her his name is engraved on the back. He has to go back and get it. Gina refuses to go, so Dick tells her to wait there with the gun while he drives back. While leaving the rest area Dick must have missed seeing the signpost up ahead indicating he just passed the border of Noirsville and into The Twilight Zone.


Thomas Jane's directing is competent with an excellent grasp of Noir stylistics. His acting is fine. Lauren German is very believable as Gina with a top notch performance. Ron Perlman has a nice cameo. Working with a $5,000,000 dollar budget this film fits nicely into the low budget slot once occupied by the old poverty row studio cheapy noirs. Fans of The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and Night Gallery will also get a nice jonze from this, at least this fan did. A straight to DVD Sony Pictures Entertainment release 7/10.

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