Judge David Johnson slays demons with his battle-axe every other weekend. He's in a league.
Bring your battle axe.
From our pals across the border to the north comes a lighthearted B-movie romp about a dimension-straddling supermodel in a bra three cups sizes too small battling interstellar demons with a huge axe. On paper, the greatest movie ever conceived. On screen…
Facts of the Case
Jason Parks (Landy Cannon) is a pathetic loser, still hung up on his ex-fiancee, who's taken up a tawdry lesbian relationship with their common friend. He's the only guy in the province unaware of this erotic development and haplessly invites both women on a camping trip.
Dysfunctional matters of the heart will be the least of his problems though, when the girls inadvertently unleash a homicidal demon from another dimension that promptly goes on a killing spree. Lucky for them, another being takes the portal trip, an axe-wielding princess of lethality named Summer Vale (Brigitte Kingsley). Not only does she bring the pain to demons, she bathes in strategic, nipple-obscuring positions and wears shorts that have less fabric than a quilting square.
The Great White North delivers! You want a fun, unpretentious B-movie? Here you go. Dark Rising is a goofball romp that gets it right, tying together a serviceable story, some funny dialogue, gorgeous women, cheesy special effects, giant, awkward monster masks, and lots of splatter, producing a package that fans of the genre would serve themselves well to scope out.
Lots of stuff to like. I'll start with what didn't quite work and then end on a high note. Despite the glorious presence of axe-swinging and bloodshed and a beautiful, inhibition-free brunette running around in her underwear, Dark Rising tends to drag in some points. Ironically, it's when Summer Vale and her demon prey land on the scene that the film sags, odd considering that up to that point there was just a lot of chanting and bellyaching from the Jason Parks guy about his lesbian former fiancée. The story just slows down with side bits concerning Jason attempting to cultivate a relationship with the hot demon slayer, but this isn't terribly amusing or interesting. Thankfully, things pick up once the slaying returns, and some zombie-inspired action shows up; see, the Big Bad reproduces through a sort of body-snatching effect and that means the supporting characters will get theirs.
Enough of that, thought. Slow parts aside, Dark Rising is big fun, wallowing in the excesses of B-movie. Whatever you're hankering for, you're pretty much going to get—slapstick violence, pointless nudity, fart jokes, and monsters with pointy teeth. Even better, all of it's tied together with a nice, humorous touch that yields plenty of laughs. Not big, exhausting laughs, but certainly enough to have made me think that Dark Rising was more funny than not.
Performances are suitably goofy. Landy Cannon has a young, Canadian Peter Krause look going for him, but he's perfectly fine with being the butt of most of the jokes (his character's obliviousness to his ex-fiancee's sexual orientation is a running gag). Jason Reso (aka professional wrestler Christian Cage) does well as the meathead comic relief. The true star is Kingsley, who has a great time wielding her battle-axe and apparently doesn't mind doing so barely dressed.
A decent DVD awaits, fronted by a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and 5.1 Dolby Digital surround mix and capped by a fine selection of extras, including a cast commentary, a making-of featurette, a Christian Cage wrestling match, a few disposable deleted scenes (with optional category) and a photo gallery.
It's not going to be enshrined in the Smithsonian or anything, but Dark Rising is a pretty good time.
If you don't know it's Not Guilty you better go axe someone.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: E1 Entertainment
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