Driving home to her secluded estate after meeting at a local bar, a player out to score thinks his beautiful, mysterious date will be another casual hook-up. While getting acquainted, their flirtation turns playful, sexy and sinister. Hoping to get lucky, his luck may have just run out.
Grimmfest Says: Following on from his unlikely stint as creator and showrunner on the SyFy channel’s VAN HELSING, the ever-controversial and confrontational Neil LaBute (IN THE COMPANY OF MEN, YOUR FRIENDS & NEIGHBORS) sticks with Stoker for this darkly witty modern spin on a key sequence from the archetype-defining classic of Victorian Gothic horror fiction. Part EC Comics morality tale, part sour comedy of sexual manners and mores, it mischievously toys with expectations: the music cues, the mise-en-scene, the names of the female characters, the visual style, with its echoes of Hammer horror movies and US TV Gothic shows such as (HOUSE OF) DARK SHADOWS (clearly referenced in the name); all constantly signalling and signposting the film’s sources. We know where this narrative is headed right from the start. The fascination lies in the nature of the journey, and the gradual slide from comedic into horrific is perfectly paced. Smart, sophisticated, and elegantly staged, it’s sharply played by a strong cast, all clearly relishing LaBute’s snappy, salty dialogue, with Long in particular doing a fine job in making his sleazy business consultant ladies man a far more sympathetic, nuanced, and three dimensional character than might be expected. And the final, chilling, gory retribution is well-worth the wait.
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