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Dark Windows (2023) Review

Dark Windows sounds like what The Dark Knight would look through to see who was hiding in the Dark Shadows. Actually, it’s nothing that creative, this is yet another slasher that opens with a teasing prologue before flashing back to “A few days earlier”.

In this case, a few days earlier was when Ali (Grace Binford Sheene, Something Good to Eat, The Nevers) who is sober, gets into a car with her friends Peter (Rory Alexander, Anxious People, 12), Tilly (Anna Bullard, Strange Daughter, SOKO Stuttgart), and Monica (Annie Hamilton, The Wolf of Snow Hollow, Safe Space) who aren’t. There’s a crash, and guess which one of the group dies?

After a confrontation with one of the dead girl’s relatives (Morten Holst, Breeder, Small Claims Court), at her funeral, the trio decides to retreat to a country house owned by one of their grandparents to try and get themselves sorted out and let matters back home calm down. What they don’t know is that somebody plans to sort them out in a whole diffent manner.

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It’s fairly obvious where writer Ulvrik Kraft (Saigon Marine, Be Still My Heart) and director Alex Herron, whose credits include one other film, last year’s satanic shocker Leave, as well as a lot of music videos and band interviews, are going with Dark Windows’ plot. So it’s not that much of a surprise when, after the usual interpersonal issues between the trio, the cell service dies, and they find someone has constructed a shrine to Ali in the living room.

The obvious problem with this, though, is that Dark Windows is seriously lacking in potential victims, especially for a slasher. If you want to riff off of something like I Know What You Did Last Summer, you need to give the killer more than a trio of targets. I kept waiting for some friends to stop by, or some locals to show up to see who was at the house, but it never happens.

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At one point the script makes an attempt at suggesting that it’s a supernatural presence, perhaps Ali’s ghost, that’s responsible for what’s happening. Unfortunately, by that point, we’ve had a glimpse of the masked antagonist and the prologue made it fairly clear the threat was flesh and blood. It might have worked if they hadn’t already given things away, but as it stands all we get out of it is a jump scare or two.

By the last half hour, they finally realize they’re in danger, by which time their car has, of course, been disabled, and they’re trapped. Things actually get good as the killer stalks them through the house and nearby woods. I was seriously wishing Kraft and Herron had gotten to this point sooner when the film plays its final cards.

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The killer’s identity probably isn’t going to be much of a surprise, especially since the number of potential suspects is as low as the number of potential victims. But the reveal of the motive and the move into Hostel territory may be somewhat polarizing to viewers. Interestingly that’s the second film in as many days that’s done that, but while it’s not as bloody as Handyman’s Special at the end of Waking Nightmare, this is brutal. And, in the case of the death by vodka, inventive.

Falling somewhere between the horror and thriller genres, Dark Windows has its moments, but there aren’t really enough of them to lift it above watchable. The filmmakers give special thanks to fellow Norwegian Tommy Wirkola (Violent Night, Dead Snow), but they should have paid him to give the script a once over before shooting began.

Brainstorm Media will release Dark Windows in select theaters and On Demand on August 18th.

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