Imagine being sent off to a random European country only to find out that what you were looking for isn’t quite what you find. No, this isn’t the latest plot of a James Bond film. Rather, it’s the basic narrative of Dejan Zecevic’s The Rift: Dark Side of The Moon.
At its core, it’s kind of a canned Twilight Zone episode. So you get some great campy acting, exotic locales, a trusty team of Deep State operatives and a dying scientist with a dark secret.
“The strength of The Rift however is in its hard turn into a haunted house scenario.”
The strength of The Rift however is in its hard turn into a haunted house scenario. Shifting from spy movie to horror movie, it traps our protagonists in a rickety house. People die. People don’t explain things. There’s a couple jump scares. And there’s definitely an axe that becomes a grisly tool of death.
In these moments, it’s clear that the performances and tropes of genre are what make The Rift enjoyable. Ken Foree’s performance as John Smith shines as he quips, even when he descends into paranoia. Liz Waid (Katarina Cas) spends much of the film asking questions and running around, terrified. But it works, as she is us and we are her, experiencing the horror of being trapped in that drafty ass house in Serbia. And, while both men have smaller roles, Dysart (Monte Markham) and Darko (Dragan Micanovic) complete the reliable roles needed to make the mystery work.
Speaking of mysteries: while the inexplicable nature of the big bad are frustratingly…inexplicable, The Rift does its best not to belabor you with too much time to actually poke a hole in its story. Instead, it prefers you focus on hoping that Katarina doesn’t get chopped in two.
“The Rift is an enjoyable and strange tale that’s worth a watch when you’ve got time to kill.”
And that’s completely fine. Because the epilogue leaves things even more confusing. Taking a nod from Arrival, there’s some heavy plays on motherhood and making things right. And there’s a ballooning of narrative that makes The Rift’s story arc much grander than the film’s budget could bear on its own. Which also isn’t a bad thing. It just kind of shows how big the story could have been without forcing it to be. Ultimately, The Rift is an enjoyable and strange tale that’s worth a watch when you’ve got time to kill. Just so long as you don’t look too long into the rift itself.
The Rift: Dark Side of The Moon (2017) Directed by Dejan Zecevic. Written by Barry Keating and Milan Konjevic. Starring Ken Foree, Katarina Cas, Monte Markham.
3 out of 5 Spacemen