Darkness Visible (2005)

Sex :
Violence :

Director Blake Mitchell
Writers Blake Mitchell
Starring Michael Delmar, Scarah Mulawa
Genre Psychotic
Tagline None Listed
Run Time (minutes) 3:22


Blake Mitchell's Darkness Visible is a product of the Sydney Film School which might explain a lot. The movie has zero in the way of dialogue, except towards the end when we listen in on a phone call to emergency services, one of the most irritating soundtracks ever made, and pretty much zero in terms of aesthetics. It's unashamedly a student film and while likely to impact on you to some degree, some pretty bleak imagery, largely fails most standards movies are judged by.

We kick off with a woman in what appears to be a motel room, a stark motel room at that, who has some unknown dude at her mercy in the bathroom. She later drags a bloody body bag into the main room and there follows one of those on screen affairs where you barely know what is happening, don't overly care, and are left with the impression that it quite possibly makes sense only to the script writer. While the wine and cheese set might find this invigorating I was left overly bored and wondering if they aren't teaching story telling in Australia's premier movie school any more.

I guess we are looking at something like a zombie outbreak, or maybe a Frankenstein like scenario given the names of our two shot characters, Adam and Eve, with the final frantic phone call maybe pointing to life after the final credits. Why a dildo was involved in all this isn't adequately explained, and given today's jaundice audiences it's no longer overly shocking. Regardless of intent Director/Writer Blake Mitchell fails in one of the underlying aspects of horror, telling a yarn that will involve the audience and have them associating with one or more of the characters. Here there is no story to engage, Mitchell doesn't even attempt to tell us something, and none of the characters make any sense given the situation. Exposition was needed, regardless of the budget, Mitchell was either slumming it making a horror flick or being a typical undergraduate. This short is in no way as clever as it believes itself to be, though Mitchell does bring to mind the work of Abel Ferrara and the New York avant garde.

Through out the running time of Darkness Visible the audience is forced to listen to one of the more horrendous soundtracks ever devised to torture them. Clearly it is meant to be an un-tuned television at volume, but all it effectively does is irritate the hell out of anyone unfortunate enough to watch the movie. The soundtrack is woefully inept and distracts from the impact of what we are seeing on the screen.

Further alienating the audience, as if we needed it, are the sets Mitchell uses. To say they are utilitarian is an understatement, they are as boring as a Kmart work of art with less integrity to be honest. Clearly the budget hasn't stretched to actually finding a motel room any sane person would spend more than 10 minutes in but surely Mitchell has a friend or two who might have something more appropriate in their flat? Let's face facts here not that many takes were involved in filming the short, everything was no doubt wrapped within a couple of hours at most.

There is simply no artistry used in making Darkness Visible, Mitchell would appear to have fixated on the dark genre because it can be very forgiving and has then proceeded to pour petrol on it and set it alight. The movie has no redeeming qualities and is about what one would expect from a Film School where navel gazing is the order of the day.

For anyone who wants to catch the short, set your browser to right here.

ScaryMinds Rates this short as ...

A half hearted effort at best.