A Darker Reality
Phase 4 // Unrated // $89.97 // January 10, 2012
Review by Rohit Rao | posted January 31, 2012
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Allow me to be perfectly blunt. Watching A Darker Reality is a miserable way to spend 90 minutes of your life. I'm not just saying that because the film asks us to wallow in endless depravity with no rhyme or reason (which it does). The real problem is that this movie is the shoddy product of a starved imagination (shared by director Chris Kazmier and writer Sxv'leithan Essex) which hopes to cover up a complete lack of originality by throwing steaming piles of misogyny and torture at the audience.

Ostensibly a sequel to Dark Reality (haven't seen it and don't plan on doing so), the film follows a sick serial killer known as the Ghost (Daniel Baldwin). He has managed to rack up a body count of 85 victims in just 3 short years. Given his prolific nature, you would think the local police force would have some solid leads on the guy but you'd be wrong. This is precisely why, the sudden appearance of Carey (Alisha Seaton) is a stroke of luck. Since she was held captive by the killer before being unceremoniously discarded by him, the hope is that she has some unique insight to offer the cops. Detective Belasco (James C. Burns) working with Dr. Jesse Metcalfe (Sunny Doench) plans on stopping the Ghost before he can hurt anyone else. Let's just say, the odds are not in their favor.

I'm struggling to figure out who is the target audience for this movie. Horror fans seeking thrills and suspense will be met with boredom. The film plods along from one horrible act of torture to the next, stopping along the way to fill in the gaps with plot points and characters nicked from better movies. Seriously, the filmmakers had the audacity to not only shove a Hannibal Lecter-clone into the film but to even make a reference to how similar the characters are, as if that excuses their laziness. That big twist at the end?...it's from one of the early Saw entries. It won't be too distracting since you're going to see it coming from a mile away.

I know what you're thinking. If this isn't wall-to-wall chills and spills, then it must at least offer something to the gore fiends in the crowd. Well...yes and no. Even though the film is essentially one long torture sequence (spread across multiple victims), the limited budget prevents the on screen shenanigans from becoming too graphic. This just means that the worst offenses are obscured by objects or masked with quick cuts. When there isn't enough money for that, characters just sit around and give hyper-detailed accounts of the atrocities visited upon them.

With that said, this still isn't the sort of film to be enjoyed by those with delicate sensibilities. The Ghost is the worst kind of sadist, the unfocused kind. He has no specific M.O other than his general hatred towards women. His acts of brutality become monotonous in their insistence on sledge-hammering us with perversion after perversion. The end result, once again, is boredom. The only remotely watchable element in the entire enterprise is Baldwin's unhinged portrayal of the killer. You can often tell he's going above and beyond what the half-baked script requires of him. Unfortunately, there are occasions when even he gets tripped up by leaden dialogue that vacillates between improvised gibberish and tortured teen goth poetry. The less said about every other actor in this film, the better.

I hate to throw around the term 'torture porn' but that is exactly what this film aspires to be. It has no greater purpose than to catalog the awful things a writer and director can dream up to inflict upon their predominantly female cast of characters. There is no meaning to be found and contrary to what the title suggests, reality is the first casualty here. Please don't watch this (not even if you're bored) because I fear any return on investment may prompt the filmmakers to unleash The Darkest Reality upon us. Who am I kidding? It's probably already too late.


The movie was presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio with anamorphic enhancement. The image is focused on playing up the grimy environs of the killer's lair. Given how dark the movie is, it is surprising to see that the shadow detail is average at best. The flat image also has a bit of shimmer in spots. This is a pretty average presentation, frankly better than the material deserves.

The audio was presented in an English Dolby Digital 5.1 mix with Spanish subtitles. The soundtrack is dominated by screams of pain and anguish which the audio mix conveys with adequate clarity. The quality of the mix does vary during sections of the film where a bit of an echo can be detected.

Fortunately all we get is a Trailer and a few Deleted Scenes.

A Darker Reality made me think something I had never considered before: Daniel Baldwin deserves so much better. The gleeful energy he brings to the sadistic killer isn't enough to redeem this film. Heck, it was barely enough to keep me from throwing my coffee table at the TV (and I love my TV). It will, however, highlight just how far beneath him the rest of this sorry excuse for a horror film really is. Director Kazmier and writer Essex have slapped together a shameful exercise in lowest common denominator depravity and misogyny that should be avoided at all costs. Skip It.

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