In a world where puppets and humans live happily side by side, puppet Howard (Jason Graham) has found himself with a unique problem: he can see the identity-less puppeteer (Beau Brown) controlling his every move. Increasingly disturbed and paranoid, Howard suffers as those around him fail to comprehend his problem. Will they ever understand the horror of Howard’s “Dark Companion”?
I wouldn’t call Darrell C. Hazelrig’s The Dark Companion a dark comedy necessarily, but its premise is sufficiently absurd and haunting. If you look at Howard as a person, and the idea of the puppeteer as a question of destiny or fate, the entire breadth of the story is frighteningly philosophical. If you just see a puppet, it’s comical in its seriousness.
And sometimes comical for the sake of just making a joke, such as the scene with the therapist where he tries to imagine Howard’s companion as a certain cinematic imaginary friend; the disappointment on the therapist’s face as he realizes that his hopes will be unrealized is a wonderfully dry moment.
Visually, the film seemed a little dark, but, hello, it is called The Dark Companion and having less light in the room makes it easier for said shadowy figure to disappear into the background. So, yeah, I absolutely get it, but I did sometimes feel like I was straining my eyes to take in everything a given scene had to offer.
Overall, The Dark Companion is a unique experience that allows you to project as much on to the film as you’d like. I personally like the idea of the “dark companion” being more than the literal, just as I like the idea that Howard isn’t simply a puppet. But it is equally valid to take the entire experience at face value and see that this fuzzy little man is being tormented by a dark entity that is always around. Or it’s a world a puppets with no knowledge of their own puppeteers’ existence, which is yet another potential statement on the plight of humanity. This short it messing with my head!
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