Micro-Budget Brit Horror

by Ed Blackadder

Art of Darkness, has been produced for the lowly sum of $50 (£30) thousand, and directed by first-timer, Steve Laurence. This film has loads of faults but it has something else that makes it way better than so many others. Apart from succeeding in having a highly tappable actress who can actually act, it has a story that I found very appealing. It was also a horror that wasn’t about a group of twentysomethings, who decide to go camping and get hunted by a serial-killer prone to wearing cheap masks. You’ll love this one; the cell phones actually work! Sadly, a mask is featured but two out of three ain’t bad in the horror-cliche department.

Art of Darkness
Directed by
Steve Laurence
Emily Baxter, Martin Laurence, Ryan Elliott, Adrian Annis
Release Date
Ed’s Grade: C

Advisory Warning. Please have your bullshit-detector firmly in the ‘off’ position for full enjoyment of Art of Darkness. Ben Richards (Martin Laurence) has gone to the pub to see his coke-sniffing mate, Nick (Rob Maloney). While there, his wife, Liz (Emily Baxter) has gone on a photoshoot to Philip the photographer/artist/psycho’s, to earn badly needed cash. Liz finds herself subjected to being photographed; attacked with a nailgun, and being forced to look at a dodgy painting worthy of Da Vinci but created with only some blood and a human eyeball. I shit you not!

Liz has managed to make a call to Ben to alert him that she’s in trouble, however, as luck would have it the connection isn’t very good and he only hears the name of the street but no number. (Do we care it’s a long lonely street where the house is blatantly obvious and lit up like a Christmas tree? Do we even care that Ben sees Liz’s car pulling away from a connecting driveway being driven by a strange man and doesn’t think to note this humungous clue? Didn’t think so!) Ben calls the police who eventually show up in the shape of D.I. Mitchells (Lenn Blasse), but he’s also called his mate, Nick (who it turns out is connected to Philip!), and together they win the Academy Award for “Most Suspicious Characters in a Feature Film.”
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Ben must try to find Liz who is in mortal danger, but now Ben is also being sought by the dogged D.I. Mitchells, (who apparently can jump from crime scene to crime scene using a handy matter-transfer unit that he keeps hidden from the audience). The reason Ben is now wanted is because he protected himself from a murdering car thief by accidently killing him. He reasonably assumed the police wouldn’t believe him even though there’s a dead body in the trunk and DNA proving Ben’s innocents?! Go figure. Philip is quite taken with the sexy Liz (as was I) and shows the terrified hot chick what he plans for her by murdering another hot chick (he obviously keeps a few spare, terrified, kidnapped, hot chicks for this purpose) then drains her blood to use as red paint.

Enough of my shenanigans. As mentioned, the story itself was good and some of the acting was OK, but Martin Laurence, was a bit on the wooden side with zero charisma, and I was reminded of a certain young lady who starred in the Twilight franchise. Perhaps, someone, had, accidently, put, a, comma, in, between, each, word, in, the, script? For what Art of Darkness is, and the fact it was done on the low, low, all these things are forgivable and it was actually not bad to sit through. Would I watch it again? Seriously?