Tuesday, February 28, 2012

'The Dark Watchers' is almost worth watching

It's been a while since I've had time to post an actual review here. Hopefully, this marks the reversal of that trend!

Men in Black: The Dark Watchers (aka "Dark Watchers: The Women in Black") (2012)
Starring: Melanie Denholme, Eirian Cohen, Val Monk, Lee Roberts, and Rudy Barrow
Director: Philip Gardiner
Rating: Three of Ten Stars

A group of UFO enthusiasts (Barrows, Cohen, Denholme, and Monk) become targets of the Men in Black and gradual transformation into something not human!


This film offers a model on how to make the modern exploitation film. It's a cheaply made movie that's being promoted with great-looking graphics and a fascinating preview that highlights the three attractive women that play the lead roles and which, together with the title, bring to mind the completely unrelated big-budget "Men in Black" movies starring Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith. The timing is also ideal, as there's a third Jones/Smith "Men In Black" film due out this year. A simple, great-looking website (which you can check out by by clicking here)further helps to make this film look like something you want to rent or buy.

Like the vast majority of exploitation flicks, the actual movie can't live up to the great promotional graphics and the nifty preview. (Actually, this can be said about a host pictures, including more "respectable" ones, but it is especially true of films like this one.) I was about 15 minutes into the film when I realized that it would not live up to the promises of the marketing material, any more than Roger Corman's "She-Gods of Shark Reef" did.

While the film is every bit as stylish as I would expect from the preview and it features decent acting and some great story set-ups, it fails to deliver on any of the promises inherent in those story set-ups. The film ultimately feels like an incoherent collection of vignettes during wich the main characters (and a couple of random chicks running around in blood-soaked clothes) are tormented by the Men in Black and the strange aliens who are heralding some unspecified doom. And at no point in the film does anything become any clearer, nor does anything that we watch ultimately seem to have any point other than to eat up the film's running time.

Ultimately, "Men in Black: The Dark Watchers" feels like someone edited out the film's content and left the padding. The music video included as a bonus feature on the DVD is more coherent, and therefore more interesting, than the main feature.

And this is really too bad. It's clear this film was written and directed by a creator of some talent, and the marketing is really very slick. If just a little attention had been paid to story, I think I'd probably be praising this movie instead of panning it.

8 comments:

  1. Isn't it amazing that the one thing EVERY movie can afford regardless of budget or resources - is a good script - and further amazing that SO MANY movies get made that needed another draft or two or three or another script altogether? Good review, Steve! Welcome back!

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  2. Yeah... so many good ideas are squandered because the script is given short shrift.

    And thank you for sticking around. I hope to start providing more meaty content again on a regular basis.

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  3. Mac Shoreman 3DGFX DesignerApril 17, 2012 at 5:41 AM

    Get serious!

    "... written and directed by a creator of some talent... "

    Gardiner a relative?

    No script in the world can fix the lack of skills and talent... but talent and skills can make entertainment even from a sucky script.

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  4. Nope, he's not a relative. It's funny how small-minded people always jump to nepotism whenever they disagree with a review.

    I suppose I should counter with "are you mad because Gardiner didn't hire you for a job?" but that would be as stupid as asking if I'm related to Gardiner.

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  5. Mac Shoreman 3DGFX DesignerApril 17, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    Yes, I might be small minded but on the other hand I can identify crap when I see it abd i call it by it's real name.

    To say that "It's clear this film was written and directed by a creator of some talent..." just shreds your review's credibility to pieces. It does not add up. A writer with talent does not write crap. A director with talent does not make crap movies. A talented writer and director do not screw up because he did not pay enough attention to his own story.
    Your conclusion is not convincing. The movie is pure rubbish (even you gave it 3 out of 10 stars). There must be a reason, beyond the obvious, you praise the talent of the writer and director of this so called movie. The sad thing is, the reason is not present in your review so I hade to make a small minded guess.

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  6. Actually... the reason *is* present, and you must live in a weird world where saying that a person has "some talent" and that his film doesn't live up to the potential it contains is "praise." I think you may need to work on your reading comprehension.

    BTW, writers with talent write crap all the time. It's what is commonly referred to as a "first draft."

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  7. Mac Shoreman 3DGFX DesignerApril 18, 2012 at 1:25 AM

    Ha ha ha.. Your absolutely right. I am a dyslectic European and my native language is not English.

    If you do not like the movie, do not try to beat around the bush if there is no valid reason for it.


    "And at no point in the film does anything become any clearer, nor does anything that we watch ultimately seem to have any point other than to eat up the film's running time."

    "If just a little attention had been paid to story, I think I'd probably be praising this movie instead of panning it."


    ... makes no sense what so ever. No "little attention" would save this pile of crap and the statement is some what puzzeling due to the fact that the director was the writer. No sense what so ever...

    "It's clear this film was written and directed by a creator of some talent..."

    Pleas explain to me how Philip Gardiner's some talent with a little attention paid to story would make "Dark Watchers: The Women in Black" clearer and not just some thing that eat up the film's running time.

    One name pops up in my head. Edward D. Woods Jr.

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  8. The review already states what I think could have made the movie better. Since you are obsessed with this review, I recommend trying another read-through. :)

    And if you think "Dark Watchers" compares to Edward D. Wood Jr. pictures, you probably need to watch a few. The flaws with Wood's pictures are generally different than the flaws with this one.

    Thanks for stopping by.

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