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RATED NOT RATED
STUDIO Reality Entertainment
RUNNING TIME 80 minutes
A story about UFO’s that’s more art than film.
Melanie Denholme, Elrian Cohen, Val Monk, Rudy Barrow
A group of women attempt to catch UFO’s on film with no luck. While out shooting, they lose four hours of their day with no recollection of what happened. After discovering that this seems to be happening all over the globe, the women get caught up in a conspiracy bigger than they could have ever imagined.
Lets get this out of the way: this flick has nothing to do with the Will Smith fronted Men in Black. When I was initially sent the disc, the film was called Men In Black: The Dark Watchers. However that seems to have changed, for reasons that I do not know. Most places across the web seem to list this one with the Women in Black title, as did the only shot I could find the title card above. With such a messy beginning, and such a derivative original title, my hopes weren’t especially high for the flick.
It’s a good thing they weren’t, because Dark Watchers is a mess of a film that ends up feeling more like an experiment than a fully-formed idea. There were multiple times where I had to make sure I was still watching the film and not some weird interlude the director had thrown in. Much of the film is comprised of montages of every day activities with music playing in the background. Granted, these would be reasonably cool music videos if taken out of context, but within the confines of a film they end up feeling boring and out of place.
What little narrative the film has is extraordinarily jumbled. I actually have no idea what the hell happened during the climax of the film, just that I was relieved when it finally ended. The choice to have almost dialogue during the back half could have been interesting if the visuals explained anything. Instead, they only raise more questions that never get answered. The titular man in black shows up only to stand around, with no explanation about why he’s doing so. He’d be creepy if he weren’t so damn confusing.
Director Philip Gardener doesn’t have the most promising resume when it comes to feature films, but his history working on documentaries is obvious throughout Dark Watchers. Many of the shots are gorgeous and would be better suited in a more cohesive film with a higher budget. The effects work is bad but understandable given that the film didn’t have much money to work with. I just wish we had better explanations for some of the cooler effects, like why they exist in the first place.
I’d comment on the characters or the actors and actresses that portray them, but there really isn’t enough substance for me to do so. There are obviously no recognizable names, but that isn’t an excuse for the poor work on display here. No one gets any time to shine or create any connections with the audience, and the film seems fine substituting any semblance of emotion with one musical sequence after another. When the weird shit starts happening it’s obvious were supposed to feel for these women, but instead I was left waiting for the thing to end.
The Dark Watcher’s ends up feeling more like a collection of music videos than a true feature film. Gardener has talent, but that may be better served making documentaries. The title is obviously meant to draw attention to the film, and while it worked on me I strongly urge you not to let your curiosity get the best of you. Spend the 80 minutes watching a real Men In Black flick instead.
Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Honestly, I wouldn’t want to watch more anyway.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars