BLACK SITE (2018)

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Black Site, the new film from writer/director Tom Paton (Redwood, Black Ops) has been on my radar for a while. I liked his first two films and the description of this one hit all the right buttons. A mix of H.P. Lovecraft, John Carpenter and The Raid, how could I resist? Well, I’ve finally seen it, and while it doesn’t fully live up to its hype, it is a fun film.

Mankind is at war with the Elder Gods. While we can’t kill them we can deport them back to wherever they came from, something that seems to prevent their return. When Erebus (Kris Johnsom) is brought to the Artemis Black Site it sets off Ren (Samantha Schnitzler) who’s parents were among his victims.

It doesn’t take long for Erebus’s disciples to attack the facility. The handful of survivors including Ren, Sam (Mike Beckingham) the man in charge of performing the deportation ritual and Agent Leonhart (Lauren Ashley Carter, Gags, Imitation Girl) must defeat the attackers led by Ker (Phoebe Robinson-Galvin).

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Black Site does a great job of setting its world up at the start. A prelude set in 1997 and then some introductory dialogue bring us up to speed on the site and the mixture of magic and technology that makes it function. And which can be exploited by the attackers.

The attack itself is where Black Site takes off and the Carpenter influence shows. It feels like Assault On Precinct 13 and Ghosts Of Mars crossed with Prince Of Darkness. There’s plenty of well-choreographed mayhem going on while Erebus waits in his cell. Waiting, and voicing his disdain for humanity. He comes off like a supernatural Hannibal Lecter.

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However, as much as I liked Black Site it does miss the mark in a couple of places. The comparison to The Raid is a bit overdone. The fight scenes are well done, but probably due to budgetary reasons, there’s nowhere near the volume or inventiveness on display here. Also, we get several shots of an immense, tentacled something floating in the void. It’s impressive but I’d love to have seen it do a bit more than just hang there. Paton has expressed hope this will become a franchise, if so hopefully these issues will be addressed next time out.

Epic Pictures will release Black Site via its Dread label April 9th on VOD and Blu Ray. You can keep updated on the film’s website, (is that a Black Site site?).

Jim Morazzini

Movie buff, gym rat and crazy cat guy

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