Movie Review: The Dark Tapes (2017)

Released in 2017, The Dark Tapes is a found-footage(esque) horror anthology. Four short movies each somewhat interlink, with the recurring theme of cameras and technology. The four segments are “To Catch a Demon“, “The Hunters and the Hunted“, “Cam Girls” and “Amanda’s Revenge“, while the first segment is presented as four smaller sections between the others.

+ To Catch a Demon: the first portion of the film, directed by Vincent J. Guastini, is spread out over four smaller ‘parts’ throughout the movie. It shows a team attempt to capture on camera an entity – the physical manifestation of night terrors – only visible on a high frame rate camera during REM sleep. This was much more ‘standard’ sci-fi-horror, with monsters and vague warnings and characters making stupid decisions, but it was still fun
+ The Hunters & the Hunted: in this second segment, a couple moves into a new house and starts hearing strange noises, and they call a ghost hunter team to investigate. This was great, with lots of slow building tension as things get progressively more and more weird. A few small hints are given before an interesting twist. This reminded me a lot of the first Paranormal Activity
+ Cam Girls: this third segment reminded me a lot of both “The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger” from V/H/S and the “Halloween” segment from Holidays. In it, a recently runaway, former good Christian girl Caitlin(Emily Zoryan) is in a lesbian relationship, and the pair perform private cam shows for certain lucky viewers. Long story short, things aren’t what they appear. It is equal parts sexy and terrifying, which I guess puts it in a unique group, though admittedly it does go on a bit too long. Overall, however, this was interesting compared to the other segments
+ cameras glitching out is a recurring theme, and each time it happens in one of the shorts you’ll definitely feel your heart rate increase

The idea of camera interference and distortion is seen a lot throughout the four segments.

Amanda’s Revenge: this fourth and final segment revolves around a girl, Amanda Courtney (Brittany Underwood) who is almost date-raped at a house party. She begins to experience strange lights and sounds, and believes she was abducted. This was the weakest of the four segments, as it overstayed its welcome with little to no pay off, and far too many unanswered questions
– I really didn’t like the excessively loud ‘interference’ noises in Cam Girls; they weren’t scary, just obnoxiously loud compared to everything else in the entire movie

Should you see this film: I’m a sucker for a good horror anthology, but it is no secret that the quality in one film can be so varied with four “mini films”. The first three, here, were good to great, but are severely let down by the final segment. This didn’t bring anything new to the table for the genre, but if you’re a fan, like I am, then this is still worth watching.


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