In Darkness Movie Review

Written by Milos Jovanovic

Movie produced by Enity Films

Written and directed by Steven Cerritos
2008, 12 minutes, Not Rated

Benjamin Blais as Vorenus the GodKing
Hillary Keirstead as Lethloria of the Godhand
Ahsan Mogul as Samael of the Godhand


Somewhere in a dark pit, an unknown man is held captive. While contemplating the state of his isolation and torment, he is confronted by the dark spirits from within, who light up all his negative emotions into one and give him a new, reborn lust for life. He is now Lorenus the GodKing, and hate is his fuel of existence.


Remember Steven Cerritos? Some time ago, I reviewed his debut short film Cerritosis, which was a clever little oddity about an average Joe losing his mind and imagining awful things. The follow-up, a "visual poem" (as the director himself billed it) called In Darkness, is another short feature which strays from the conventions, but this time it succeeds to a lesser degree.

The plot — if you can call it as a such, considering the running time of 12 minutes — is rather loose and Cerritos leaves a lot open to the viewer's imagination. The positive aspect is that Cerritos knows his work, so the finished product looks polished, well staged and neatly shot. Despite the source material being DV (I assume, at least), the usual shortcomings are left on the side — black is black, not murky shade of gray, and faces show good detail and texture. Soundtrack for the film (composed by Alfredo Arcilesi) accompanies the proceedings well, so no complaints there either. Editing, another usual stumbling block for the indie director, is executed pretty well — Cerritos himself cut the film, and some edits are rather cleverly done.

What is lacking here is a touch of modesty and some more mature writing. Lorenus's monologs sound like something AFI or some other emo band would write, complete with his exaggerated delivery and accentuation of words such as "love", "hate", "flame", "torment", "sanity" etc. The segue in which the cause of his suffering is explained, a brief dialog between characters known as "Lethloria of the Godhand" and "Samael of the Godhand", is even more hammy. I am perfectly aware that there is a target crowd for this, and they will probably find it great, but the grandstanding script and wannabe-Shakespearean acting deliveries left me a bit cold. By the way, if you remember, Cerritosis was shot completely with Japanese dialog — director's taste for the obscure pops up here as well, as the demonic voices Lorenus hears in his cell are speaking to him in, if I'm not mistaken, Latin.

When you account for his both films, it's obvious Cerritos is a talented individual with great visual flair. While I'm not really enthralled by In Darkness, it's hard not to take notice of his directorial talent — I hope he has a feature film in the works, because I'd really like to see how his style translates to longer running times.

Video, audio and special features will not be graded, as this is a screener.


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