Tuesday, February 9, 2010

'Dark Ride' is not worth shining a light on

Dark Ride (2006)
Starring: Jamie-Lynn Sigler, David Rogers, Patrick Renna, Alan Solowitz, Andrea Bogart, and Jennifer Kelly Tisdale
Director: Craig Singer
Rating: Four of Ten Stars

Six college kids decide to spend the night inside a diliapated carnival ride that was the scene of more than a dozen gruesome murders some 15-20 years before... just in time for the insane killer to escape from a mental instution and return to his old stomping grounds. Much screaming, bleeding, and dying ensues.

"Dark Ride" is a by-the-numbers slasher films that features better-than-average cinematography, decent acting, a nice musical score, and decent set design... to a point. Unfortunately, that decent set design doesn't quite extend to what feels like a logical layout for what supposedly is an attraction designed to be experienced while sitting in tracked carts--the carnival ride at the center of the movie simply doesn't feel real. Another weakness is that there isn't a single likeable character to root for in the film, yet none are so repugnant that the viewer roots for their death either. These bland characters are one of the clearest manifestations of the laziness of the script, which also manifests itself as a plot that only works because of a convergence of coincidences so ludicrous that even the biggest believers in a Grand Design will be rolling their eyes.

The fact that not one, not two, but three totally unconnected circumstances had to come to pass for the events of the film to occur also make the obligatory twist ending seem more obnoxious than shocking.

Hardcore fans of the slasher genre will undoubtedly get a kick out of "Dark Ride". The more casual horror fan will probably find themselves wishing that a little more thought had gone into the script.

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