Hey gang, Valkor here. Since the new look for the site has gone up, I’ve gotten behind on my films. And I do believe it’s about that time I started mowing through the pile. Maybe next month I’ll do another 30 in 30? That was fun, even though I didn’t actually reach 30 (I believe 28 was my last). So, until then, let’s take a look at Dark Vale, a horror film from the UK; it’s definitely not a great way to start things off, but I could think of worst.
To kick things off, Dark Vale mainly centers on an urban legend dating back about a hundred years, where a woman named Lucy (Chloe Clark) eagerly waited at the wedding altar for her husband. Only he never showed up. Unfortunately, she found him in the arms of another woman. And in a fit of rage, she killed them both, hacking them to bits with an ax. Soon after, she hung herself and now her ghostly remains haunt the wooded area that is known as “The Vale”.
Switching to present day, we meet Tom (Darren Randall) and Leah (Cara Middleton), a young couple off for a bit of a weekend getaway; it would seem that Leah is having some personal issues, so having the weekend off was supposed to take care of that. However, she receives a call concerning her mother and it’s time for them to head back. But the duo never make it back as they suddenly get into an accident and now they find themselves stuck in The Vale. Even worse, they're trapped with the ghost of Lucy stalking them. Lucy eventually poisons Leah, leaving Tom to try and figure a way out of the Vale or try to find out just what it is that Lucy wants. Either way, it doesn’t end well for Tom or the viewer.
Dark Vale is a seriously low-budget film, with some decent effects tossed in; I honestly think it adds to the overall creepiness of the film, but there’s a lot of “ugh” that makes this one difficult to watch. And I’ll tell you all about it in the TOV Breakdown.
My only positive note for “Dark Vale” goes to the look of the Lady Lucy ghost character; those eyes, or rather lack thereof, freaks me the fuck out! They kind of remind me of Gracie Whitton in Roger Sampson's short "Revelations", which was also crazy spooky! Too bad Lucy didn’t have too many scenes, but when she does appear, it’s pretty creepy.
Dark Vale is the type of film where it hurts to watch it. Correction – once you start, it hurts if you continue watching it because it doesn’t get any better. And I really wanted it to get better because I thought Lucy made for one creepy ass ghost; those dark hollowed out eyes gave me the shivers to no end. However, the story overall falls flat, so it’s just a waste of a character. Or maybe it’s just me and maybe I’m not the right audience for this type of film. And maybe I should just stick to simple, popcorn flare? Nah, the film just isn’t very good as it’s very slow and very uneventful, usually relegating itself to Tom narrating whatever it is that is going on that day as well as him hiking around The Vale, usually with him walking in circles with Lucy not far off. To me, one of the funniest scenes is when Tom thinks he has Lucy trapped in a ring of fire (because Lucy is supposed to be afraid of fire), but she simply reappears next to him and he runs off. Lucy is a ghost! Whether she is afraid of fire or not, it doesn't matter because she's still a fucking ghost! Now, I’m going to assume that Lucy is stalking Tom either because she wants to marry him or kill him. But if she wants to kill him, she could have done so at any time. And if she wants to marry him, then the film needed to make that objective clearer. Either way, Dark Vale would have worked out better if it were a short film because it takes way too long for little to no pay off. Or maybe the ending would have worked better if the film had been shorter.
Dark Vale is available now on DVD as well as Amazon Instant; unless you’re looking for something that might cure your insomnia, I’d say take a pass on this one as it's a definite snoozefest. The film is slow and boring with nothing to show for it save for one wicked ghost. Other than that, out of TOV 5 stars, I’m giving Dark Vale a 1.