Darken (2017) [Blood In The Snow 2017]

After trying to help a fallen warrior, a young woman falls into a dark world where people are seemingly stuck against their will under the rule of a ruthless woman.

Written by RJ Lackie and directed by Audrey Cummings, Darken creates a complex world with a lot of characters that feels like the start to something like a tv pilot or the first in a series. This means that the film sets up quite a few characters and a world of its own for them to evolve in. The film does good work creating that and introducing plenty of characters before killing quite a few off for the story to move forward and the other characters to have a reason to go on their quest. The film is entertaining while it does this and the characters are varied to add to this.

The characters are played with talent by a varied cast including Bea Santos, Natasha Negovanlis, Rob Archer, Ari Millen, and Christine Horne to name but a few. Their work takes the sci-fi story into something more believable by giving their respective characters life, making them characters the viewer can care for. The film does give most of its runtime to Eve, played by Bea Santos, who is the young woman who falls into this new, dark world and must fight for her new friends’ survival as well as her own. The way Santos plays her gives her more interest and a better arc as she evolves from the Eve first met at the start of the film to the Eve that is seen in the last scene. Her character is clearly the central one and all others evolve around here. As fans of the genre might notice, Rob Archer from Lost Girl has a part in this where he feels typecast and somewhat under-used. His character has a bunch of potential, but he’s relegated to basic tough guy, muscle man.

Darken’s world is created on screen by a talented team of set designer, decorators, and art director. The film creates a whole world within a world where characters have been evolving for years before reaching its ending where the world expends even more. This creativity is part of what makes the film feel like it’s only the start of a much bigger story with plenty other worlds to visit and explore. The way the Darken world differs from the regular world where Eve comes from helps encapsulate the story and make it more believable as a whole. The sets are dark, yet elaborate with a good attention to details.

The special effects that help create this world are a mix of practical effects and CGI effects with a strong reliance on the former. The effects are more than decent and somewhat reminiscent of television series aired or airing on channels such as Space or the Syfy channel. This is not a bad thing here as most people will see this on VOD or television most likely, unless a big release is announced. The film does feel like a pilot for a television series in how it’s shot, its effects, and the world it creates.

Darken creates a layered world that makes it feel like the story told here is just one of many, one where the lead of Eva is set up to become more important in the story of her new brethren and where she is set up to lead some kind of uprising or quest to a better life. The film takes this world it creates and utilizes but a small portion of it, causing the viewer to wonder if there will be. As the story is entertaining and the characters are attaching, it could easily become a fun film series or television series.

Blood In The Snow runs November 23rd to November 26th, 2017.