17 August 2009 | BA_Harrison
Somewhere deep inside Dark Corners, there's a good idea trying to get out. Possibly.
Dark Corners, directed by Ray Gower, is one of those films that is designed to have its audience ponder long and hard about events, and then come to their own conclusion about what they have seen. The problem is, even after much consideration (and on-line research), it's unlikely that a satisfying answer will be forthcoming. There's a point beyond which ambiguity simply becomes frustrating and Dark Corners cruises right past it and keeps on going; in fact, the film is so confusing that it's quite possible the makers didn't really know what the hell was going themselves.
Thora Birch stars as a young, blonde wife named Susan who suffers from terrifying nightmares prior to having IVF fertility treatment. In these vivid dreams, she sees herself as another person—a brunette named Karen (also Thora Birch)—who inhabits a hellish world where she repeatedly wakes from her sleep covered in blood and bruises.
In order to try and quell her night-time hallucinations, Sarah visits Dr. Woodleigh (Toby Stephens), a psycho-analyst who suggests hypnosis as a way of dealing with the problem. However, her appointment with Woodleigh proves to be the start of even more horror for poor Sarah, as her life gradually becomes more intertwined with that of her imaginary self, and she becomes a target of a knife wielding killer known as The Nightstalker.
There's a lot of conjecture on the Dark Corner message board about what is really supposed to be occurring, with some posters proposing that both Sarah and Karen are manifestations of Dr.Woodleigh (AKA The Nightstalker), who is reliving his sins endlessly in hell. Whilst this is certainly a possibility, quite how one reaches that conclusion based on the evidence offered in the film is beyond me. Don't get me wrong, I don't believe in being spoon-fed the answers, but in this case, a couple of satisfying morsels wouldn't have gone amiss.
Fortunately, although the story is a real head-scratcher, the quality of the acting prevents this film from being a total loss. Birch is great as both versions of her character (and also rather cute to boot, particularly as the brunette), and she is ably supported by Christien Anholt as Sarah's understanding hubby and Joanna Hole as best friend/work colleague Elaine Jordan. These solid performances, plus a fair bit of graphic nastiness, make the film a reasonably engaging and entertaining experience; just don't expect to understand all that you are seeing.
4.5 out of 10, rounded up to 5 for IMDb.