A DARK PATH (2019)
Directed by Nicholas Winter
Written by Nicholas Winter
Starring Makenna Guyler, Mari Beaseley, Grace Long, Thomasin Lockwood, Annabelle Mackinnon-Austin, Jimmy Essex, & Ade Dimberline as the Creature!
A DARK PATH starts out promising, but unfortunately, the further down this path we go, the more disappointing it gets.
After a night out partying hard for a bachelorette party in Eastern Europe, a pair of sisters take a rental car through the countryside to the airport. Unfortunately, they find themselves stranded in a thick forested area with someone or something slinking around in the darkness outside.
The opening ten to fifteen minutes of A DARK PATH are by far the best. This is where we get to know a bunch of talented actresses lead by Makenna Guyler and Mari Beaseley as the two sisters. Guyler’s character Abi is the older, more responsible sister who is rumored to have a wild side, but rarely shows it. Her younger sister Lilly (Beaseley) is the hellion, constantly urging her older sister to lighten up. While this back and forth gets tired later in the story, the opening scenes are not only great at letting us know who these girls are and how different they are from one another, but they also feature some genuinely funny lines that had me laughing out loud numerous times. Two of the four members of the group leave after the opener and I think that’s the first mistake filmmaker Nicholas Winter makes. I don’t know why all four of these infectiously fun gals wouldn’t be put in a car and forced to take on the evils the two sisters will soon face. I get trying to make this an intimate story, but cutting the cast in half after just introducing them simply doesn’t make sense. Especially when this quartet together make for a very fun and genuinely realistic group to follow.
Things begin to get cliched pretty early on when a flat tire and no cell service leave Abi and Lilly stranded in the woods in the middle on No Where, Eastern Europe. The pace of the film, which started out fast and furious, decelerates to a crawl as the characters move cautiously through the woods, discovers a pair of drivers, and some kind of sneaking and slobbering creature in the woods surrounding them. This leads to a little cat and mouse with the group losing each other and then finding each other only to be offed by the monsters. The plot really slugs along here and it seems Winter is simply padding the film for feature length at the painfully slow sequences of the gals hiding in the woods from a monster that moves at a turtle’s pace as well. For an hour and fifteen-minute movie, this one is an arduous trek to take.
To seal the deal that this film is going nowhere, A DARK PATH features a non-ending that made me so pissed, I wished I had never watched it. I know a lot of work was put into this low budgeter. The acting is above the norm and I even liked the slimy creatures involved. But if you don’t have a story for your characters and monster to move around in the who trip just proves to be futile. And that’s what A DARK PATH is. A letdown of a film that started so strong.