“The characters appear to be well thought out and are very much three-dimensional.”

Michelle (Kaylee DeFer) has been seeing a counselor for a while and the counselor gives her the number of someone who can help the troubled young woman. She accidentally killed three of her friends while she was driving high and is now in an institution with a strict therapist trying to coax her into talking at the group therapy sessions, but so far stays silent. She befriends Jean (Britne Oldford) who gets released early as she displayed that she was ready to deal with life again. She tells Michelle that if she wants out sooner she needs to participate in all the activities on offer, which she does.

While in the institution, Michelle starts to snoop about, and after finding her name written on an envelope in a room, she gets locked in the cell-like part of the mansion that holds only a chair and a TV. She is now the prisoner of a group of psychos who want to rid her of her wicked ways with various implements, including an oft used power drill. The trio keeping her prisoner are two brothers and a sister. Larry (Christian Campbell), Daniel (Tobias Segal) and Rachel but Daniel is a little slow and is punished by his older brother because he isn’t smart.

Directed by
Britt Napier
Kaylee DeFer, Elisabeth Röhm, Christian Campbell
Release Date
28 January 2014
Nav’s Grade: C+

At a glance Darkroom, may seem like your typical slasher flick with the obligatory killer siblings who have been brought up by an overly strict, overly religious mother, doling out brutal punishment while asking the terrified kids, “who’s a dirty boy/girl,” and while that part of the film may be true, it’s not just as simple as that. The characters appear to be well thought out and are very much three-dimensional. Britt Napier’s Darkroom, is the actress turned directors first time behind the lens, and I have to admit she’s done a decent enough job with Michaelbrent Collings’ script. There is enough tension in the film to keep you always interested and enough solid turns at acting by an able cast.

A lot of Darkroom‘s success hinges on a good performance by leading lady, the stunning, Kaylee DeFer, whose acting was key to helping hold the film together, but credit must go to Röhm who chilled playing Rachel, with Nurse Ratched-like solemness, as she oh, so matter-of-fact tries to rid the imprisoned girls of their wicked ways, by getting her bro’s to “purge” the victims in very violent ways.

Rachel accuses them of being “dirty girls,” and why she behaves as she does is revealed after Michelle finds an old home movie of the siblings’ mother (Geneva Carr) punishing them for no good reason, other than her children’s perceived wrongdoings and using the lords name to carry out her cruelty. Think Carrie White’s mother, only worse. As a young girl, Rachel is even punished for starting to menstruate while the boys suffer burning and mutilation at the hands of their mother, via a power drill.

The cinematography was another good point and came from Dane, Frederic Fasano, who was used by Dario Argento on Gallio. Each of the performances were convincing enough, with DeFer and Röhm easily my favorites. I also liked the pacing in Darkroom, and was never left wanting for any action or something to happen. With very little investment on the part of the viewer, entertainment is assured with solid acting; interesting story; enough bloodshed and drilling to keep most horror fans happy.

I must say, though, I’m curious why this is being billed as a thriller because, while it certainly does thrill, this is a horror, through-and-through, so keep that in mind before you sit down and enjoy Darkroom.

by Nav Qateel