Directed by Paul Fox, The Dark Hours is a haunting tour de force. It’s the type of film you watch while curled up all alone on the couch with a thick cup of hot chocolate on a cold Canadian night. It’s a film you just get lost in, hypnotized by the slow pace, atmospheric score, and eerie, original, non-linear storytelling. The film oozes with atmosphere and is superbly well cast and acted.
The story revolves around forensic psychiatrist Samantha Goodman (Kate Greenhouse) and her troubled relationships with her low income husband, parasitic sister, very stupid party crasher (Dov Tiefenbach) and her terrifying patient, Harlan Payne (Aidan Devine), a tall bearded epileptic charismatic gay ax murderer. Greenhouse is uncannily believable in the part, reminding me of every hyper-educated woman I have ever known. There’s a familiarity about all of the characters. We learn just enough about each of them to know the type and recognize them as people we’ve fleetingly known. Dov Tiefenbach (who Friday the 13th fans will remember from Jason X) gives one of the most fascinating performances I have ever witnessed.
Slasher fans may be disappointed by the film’s slow pace and artsy ambiguous narrative structure and some viewers feel confused or even cheated by the time it ends. Aside from one gratuitously disgusting scene involving a finger, and a stylishly bloody scene involving a nail, the film is much more a psychological thriller than a splatter film, and unfolds like a group therapy session.