The Dark Tapes is made up of five loosely connected stories in “found footage” style dealing with ancient evil, interdimensional beings, time distortion, cam girls, murderers, creepy kids, unreliable narrators, or some combination of all of the above told in the things-that-go-bump-and-boo style of Paranormal Activity.
Is this just like watching any of the versions of Paranormal Activity? Partially, yes, the parallels are strong. It’s also different enough to stand on it’s own, which begs the question whether we have a genre on our hands? It’s a possibility.
Without wandering into spoiler territory, about half an hour into the movie some sincerely fucked up unexpected shit goes down that lets you know you’re in a new and different mode.
“An impressive piece of work on a micro-budget.”
Good and creepy, this descendant of The Blair Witch Project. McQuown has a great sense for building tension, reaching right into the heart of the scare and tweaking you with just enough special effects magic to cause confusion and panic. These stories are also compelling in a way that feels out of control like gambling, hooks straight into the part of your brain that gets addicted. You must find out what happens next even when you don’t especially want to.
The Dark Tapes owes something to Cloverfield in style but the script here is tighter and more sinister. This is effective, mysterious, and vibey millennial horror. An impressive piece of work on a micro-budget. I’d look for greater things to come from Mr. McQuown. As it is, low-budget and all, have a couple of drinks, turn off the lights, and let The Dark Tapes give you some terrible thrills.
Digital is the enemy. Film is salvation. Stay awake and record everything. You could be out of time.
The Dark Tapes (2017) Directed by Vincent J. Guastini, Michael McQuown. Written by Michael McQuown . Starring Emilia Ares Zoryan, Danielle Baez, Katelyn Bailey.
8 out of 10