Review

Review

'Against the Dark' Review

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After eons of battling only the dullest sorts of terrorists and madmen, the ever-loagy Steven Seagal has decided to set his steely gaze on ... bloodsuckers. So take the astonishing amateurishness of Seagal's most recent "efforts" (not that you should ever actually SEE Kill Switch, Attack Force, or Urban Justice), and combine it with the industrial-looking "apocalyptic horror" tale that takes place entirely within one abandoned factory, and you're halfway to ingesting the ineptitude that is Against the Dark.

Scene: BOARDROOM interior. It should be made clear (note to production designer) that this is a movie pitch meeting that is taking place in Hell. Yes, they make movies in hell. Have you never seen Date Movie?: Three of the damned (literally) movie producers are pitching story ideas to Lucifer himself. Also there is Colonel Sanders.

Premise

Devil: OK, you guys did pretty well with that Prom Night remake, but what's up next?

Producer 1: Can we get the air conditioner on in here? Maybe it's me, but...

Devil: ZAP! (Producer 1 transforms into a giant stalagmite with a fetus in the center of it.)

Producer 2: Er, a vampire movie!

Producer 3: Er, more Steven Seagal!

Devil: I like it! Steven Seagal in a vampire movie! My cinematic conquest of Earth is just warming up!

--End scene--

Yes, my incredulous friends, it's true: After eons of battling only the dullest sorts of terrorists and madmen, the ever-loagy Steven Seagal has decided to set his steely gaze on ... bloodsuckers. So take the astonishing amateurishness of Seagal's most recent "efforts" (not that you should ever actually SEE Kill Switch, Attack Force, or Urban Justice), and combine it with the industrial-looking "apocalyptic horror" tale that takes place entirely within one abandoned factory, and you're halfway to ingesting the ineptitude that is Against the Dark.

Debut effort from a longtime cinematographer (which is weird because this movie looks like muddy poop, if I may be frank), Against the Dark CLAIMS to be about a horrific virus that has swept across the nation, turning everyone into blood-ravenous creatures who abhor the sunlight. So they're sort of like vampires, but mainly they act just like zombies. Especially when it's time to eat. Tucked away somewhere in this allegedly fascinating apocalypse is one dingy building, and within that building you'll find two distinctly boring groups of people.

Group A is your standard "survivor gang," complete with plucky kid, goofy drug addict, and doe-eyed heroine. Group B is comprised of Steven Seagal dressed all in black, and a bunch of sidekicks who do all the actual kicking, punching, talking, walking and stunts. But when it comes to swinging a rubber sword and unloading a shotgun into somebody's oddly bulky midsection, Seagal's still got it. If "it" means "he looks like a beardless, humorless Silent Bob who, thanks to the magic of really shoddy editing, seems to transport from place to place at will." Not to be mean, but this guy's an action hero like a marshmallow is meat. If he were smart, Seagal would go for some type of "JCVD"-style career detour and stop churning out the same five flicks in Romania every year.

Anyway, Group A has its very own movie, as does Group B. Neither plot are what you'd call interesting, despite the fact that (oddly enough) both groups are wandering through the exact same factory. And just when things get extra boring, we get a 2-minute clip from Subplot A: Keith David as a military guy who has to decide whether or not to bomb the whole dingy building ... with both groups inside! Every 15 minutes a few blood-covered stuntmen leap out from the shadows and get involved in some uneventful carnage. You'll hardly notice.

So between the two groups, the one subplot, a "star" who has maybe 11 minutes of screen time, and a plot cobbled together from movies that were already stupid to begin with, one might expect Against the Dark to be "mockingly" bad, as in you'll have a good time laughing at it. Alas, no. The chatty bits are death to the ear, the "vampire" attacks are shoddy at best, and having to click "volume up" every time Seagal whispers something about "run that way, go, now" is too much effort for too little payoff. That this flick is bad is not a surprise. That it's not even fun-bad ... yeah, that's a little disappointing.

Gluttons for punishment may enjoy the brief behind-the-scenes peek that is included on the DVD. Others may need the subtitles on just to understand what the hell Seagal is saying half the time.

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