A Vampiric Art-House Head-Scratcher
I love art-house films. There’s always something strikingly unique and daring within the Indie scene that you just don’t get with a lot of the more mainstream titles.
Dark Forces then is a fascinating, convoluted, messy and ultimately disjointed film that bites off more than it can chew. The result is a film that has a lot of potential as a 6-part mini-series but buckles under the flimsy foundations of an 80 minute picture.
The basic plot revolves around a man named Franco arriving at a dilapidated and neon-lit hotel looking for his sister. What begins as a simple search suddenly descends into all sorts of hallucinogenic scenes and wonky CGI ghouls. There’s a fair number of dream sequences and all sorts of talk about possessions, vampires and a specific book titled “Dark Forces.”
I’m not sure if it’s just me but I genuinely had a hard time figuring out what was going on. I did find myself pausing and rewinding several times to try and work it out but searching around the web, it seems like I’m not alone here. And that’s before even mentioning the sex scenes.
Honestly, there’s no reason to put these in but we don’t just get one, we get multiple gratuitous love-making sessions. Instead of this it would have been nice to receive a bit more explanation for what’s going on – especially as the movie stumbles and trips over the finish line.
Much like many other art-house projects, there’s lots of symbology, ideas and a deliberate use of colour. Unlike something like Animas – which I personally really enjoyed – Dark Forces fails to match up the colours to the mood set in each given scene. There’s a lot of neon-lit yellows, blues and reds but little substance or rationale behind these being used.
In its simplest form, Dark Forces is a spin on the usual vampire tropes with an added dose of hallucinogenic mushrooms. There’s plenty of bizarre imagery and dream sequences that feel more out of place than the river ride in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
Art-House fans and those eager to find symbolism and meaning in every shot will most certainly be in their element here. There’s a lot to digest and very little screen-time to take it all in. For everyone else, this is one vampiric Indie movie that bites off more than it can chew.