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Grimmfest 2021 Film Feature - Shot in the Dark

Updated: Oct 10, 2022

Directed by: Keene McRae

Written by: Kristoffer McMillan, Keene McRae, Lane Thomas

Starring: Kristoffer McMillan, Lane Thomas, Keene McRae, Austin Hébert, Christine Donlon, Jacqueline Toboni, Brandon Sklenar, Kelley Mack

 


 

Synopsis: Two years ago, William Langston made a mistake that would affect the course of his life. Now, with a killer loose in his home town and his circle of friends falling away one at a time, William faces his greatest fears as well as his own mortality.


Grimmfest say: A once-successful writer, reeling from personal tragedy and afflicted by writer's block tries to reconnect with his roots, only to discover that Thomas Wolfe was right: You really can't go home again. Keene McRae, Kristoffer Thomas and Lane Thomas reinvent the serial killer drama as an elliptical exploration of memory, loss, and small-town inertia, as much interested in creating a palpable sense of place and in the various directionless, listless lives of the supporting characters as with the protagonist's fraught journey of self-discovery and damnation. Fragmented and non-linear, letting the various pieces of the narrative and the connections between them slot together gradually, it plays like the film Terrence Malick might make were he ever to branch out into horror, with the focus on moments of tactile sensation proving particularly – and very uncomfortably – effective during some surprisingly visceral and disturbing scenes of violence and cruelty. A chilling study in jealousy and revenge, shot with a low-key naturalism that makes the gradual tightening of the noose around its protagonist all the more horrifying, this is an impressively bleak, bone-chilling, and genuinely haunting film.


What I'm expecting: With its subject of someone returning to their roots after a personal tragedy, only to be welcomed by inescapable and impending doom, leading to "disturbing scenes of violence", Shot in the Dark (for me)draws immediate comparisons to Ari Aster's Hereditary, and to a lesser extend, Midsommar. Shot in the Dark needs to be steadily paced throughout, as with any film like this, give away too much too early, or allow things to happen too quickly and the film can soon become a vapid and tedious affair. A lot of what Grimmfest has to say, though, is very encouraging: the "low-key naturalism", the graduality of its happenings, the referencing of Terrence Malick and its final description as a "haunting film" are all very promising signs that this will be a big success. I'm very much looking forward to seeing what Kristoffer McMillan, Keene McRae and Lane Thomas bring to this popular sub-genre of horror.

 

Credit: Shot In The Dark is now available on UK digital, courtesy of Reel 2 Reel Films

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