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Film / The Dark (2018)

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The Dark is a 2018 horror film directed by Justin P. Lange, starring Nadia Alexander and Toby Nichols.

A murderous, undead girl haunts the remote stretch of woods where she was killed decades earlier. One night, she discovers a blind boy hiding in the trunk of one of her victim's cars. Her decision to let the boy live throws her solitary existence into upheaval, and ultimately forces her to re-examine just how much of her humanity her murderer was able to destroy.

Not to be confused with the 1979 or 2005 films of the same name.

The Dark provides examples of:

  • Asshole Victim: Mina violently murders Josef Hofer, who himself is a murderer and abused a boy horribly.
  • Axe Before Entering: Through a wall rather than a door.
  • Back from the Dead: Mina appeared to still be alive when she was buried, but she claws her way out in an undead state.
  • Barrier-Busting Blow: An axe through the wall after Josef sees Mina's eye. Whether or not his bullets penetrate the same wall in reply, she's much less bothered than him.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Mina's appearance changes as she comes to care for Alex.
  • Blind and the Beast: Alex is the former, Mina is the latter.
  • Booby Trap: There are spikes to puncture car tires near Mina's house. She deliberately locks one door while leaving another unlocked, so her prey will use that one and step on a block of wood with nails sticking out.
  • Bookends: The very first scene is of a car that's driving down a forest road toward the viewer. In the very last scene, Mina gets into another car, driving off into the distance down the same road.
  • Bounty Hunter: The civilians in the woods are trying to obtain the reward money, with one dismissing stories of the woods dangers as just the authorities trying to keep the money for themselves.
  • Broken Bird: Mina's not merely broken, but a corpse powered by rage.
  • Buried Alive: Mina was very severely hurt, but still apparently alive when buried.
  • …But He Sounds Handsome: Mina tells Alex that the woods they're in are cursed by a creature with sharpened claws and teeth that eats people alive. Alex, unable to see her inhuman appearance, insists he's not scared and is surprised Mina refers to the creature as a "she".
  • Came Back Strong: Mina was unable to defend herself when alive. She comes back a fearless killing machine.
  • Death from Above: An axe swinging down from a tree branch, in this case.
  • Defrosting the Ice Queen: She's angry rather than just cold, but this is much of Mina's arc.
  • Disappeared Dad: We don't know why the man who is presumably her father is present in Mina's photo (and a picture she draws) but absent from the house. At first it seems like loyalty to her dad might be why Mina wants her mom's boyfriend gone, but it becomes apparent her objection is on her own behalf, as he's raping her.
  • Eye Scream: Alex's eyes are both covered by scar tissue and he's completely blind as a result (it's indicated that his abuser Josef had done this for breaking his "rules").
  • Facial Horror: Alex's eyes are both covered by scar tissue, and Mina's face has many gruesome gaping wounds still on it from her rapist bashing her with a snowglobe when she resisted him.
  • Grew a Spine: Alex changes from a frightened boy who still obeys the rules of his abuser even when he isn't around to taking some initiative for himself.
  • Horror Hunger: Mina comes back full of rage, and hungry for human flesh.
  • I Do Not Drink Wine: When Mina attempts to eat anything other than people she's killed, she gags. This changes by the end of the film.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Humans are the only thing undead Mina eats, with plenty of slurping sounds and belching.
  • In the Back: Mina does this with an axe to a man using his phone after finding Alex. Later, Alex does this to a woman pointing a shotgun at Mina.
  • Just Keep Driving: Of the hit and run variety, driven by someone we never see.
  • Karma Houdini: We see Mina kill her mom right after rising from the grave, but never see what happened to her mom's boyfriend who raped and murdered Mina.
  • Look Both Ways: George, when he's running away from Mina, is hit by a car on the road he flees to.
  • Made of Iron: This appears to be a side effect of being undead. Mina attacks people without fear of their weapons, and tests a lighter's flame on her hand without feeling anything. She learns that she's changing when the flame hurts.
  • Man Bites Man: Mina does this as an ordinary teen against her rapist. He beats and kills her in retaliation.
  • Matricide: Mina murdered her mother via Neck Snap, blaming her for letting Mira be raped by her mom's boyfriend.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Mina resembles a corpse and eats people, but she's fully sentient and able to pass as normal when interacting with Alex (due to his blindness). She is implied to be animated by her anger at what happened to her. She transforms back into a human gradually over the course of the film.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Josef murders someone just for hearing a news report about his wanted status. Mina doesn't know any of this when she kills him, but what she finds out afterward from Alex makes her identify with him.
  • Price on Their Head: Josef is fleeing for this reason, and people are pursuing him (intending to rescue Alex) in hopes of obtaining it.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Mina isn't just angry at the man who did this to her, but also at her mom for bringing him back after promising not to. The bond between her and Alex is based on both being horribly abused by adults.
  • Rape as Backstory: We get flashbacks showing how Mina got to be this way, with it shown her mom's boyfriend was raping her, and murdered Mina when she resisted him.
  • Revenant Zombie: Mina appears to be motivated by rage as a result of her rape and subsequent murder, reviving while in the grave. She hates humanity initially as a result, but then becomes human again through compassion toward Alex, a boy who's also suffered horrific abuse.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Josef has so thoroughly conditioned Alex that Alex appears to exhibit this. It's arguable that his tendency toward this just gets transferred to Mina over the course of the film.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Mina becomes kinder in the film as she helps Alex, and thus becomes human again too, physically transforming back to her old self.
  • Trapped in Villainy: Mina is unable to eat ordinary food and instead feeds on people, causing the woods near her to be considered cursed. By the end of the film as her rage has been replaced with compassion, she is able to eat cereal and pass as human.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: You'd be angry too if you were Mina. She's a zombie who was murdered after fighting off her rapist, and buried alive. Having to feed on humans, she's been filled with rage toward humanity ever since.
  • Your Costume Needs Work: A woman threatening Mina with a shotgun just thinks she's a teen in zombie makeup who's broken into her house.