Dark Cove

A group of friends piles into a car and heads out into an isolated area for a much-anticipated chance to get away from it all. No, this isn't Consumption again; this is a movie called Dark Cove, about a camping trip on the beaches of Vancouver Island. For once a movie was filmed in Canada without Canada doubling for someplace else.

It's something of a tradition for this bunch to go camping, though this year Quinn (Rob Willey) has his girlfriend Lacey (Jules Cotton) along for the first time. Regular camper Jen (Montanna McNalley) is newly single, while Joey (Rob Abbate) is trying to set some sort of record for the most crude sexual remarks in the shortest space of time. I was hoping he'd be the first casualty. And Ian (Eliot Bayne) seems like the most normal one of the bunch, as well as being the only one who has anything like a real job.

They settle into a campsite, meet some Australian surfers, and they all hang out for a while getting drunk and / or high, talking about the future and singing some songs. Now, at this point we're just a little shy of halfway through the movie and this is literally all that's happened. It seemed like the script was originally for a short film, then they decided to go feature-length and they added a lot to the beginning instead of building up more suspense in the middle and end.

When the plot finally gets going it's almost too late, but eventually there's a dead body to deal with, and desperate plans are hatched. And I mean desperate; granted, they're all still under the influence of various drugs to some extent, but even aside from that they're some of the least intelligent characters I've seen in a thriller movie, and that's saying something. They tell absolutely outrageous lies and waste what seems to be a good chunk of the day arguing and hesitating.

There's also very little in the way of foreshadowing or backstory, even though they spent forty minutes establishing characters so you'd think they would have mentioned certain useful facts. One character gets a history of violence explained over the course of a couple of minutes at the end, instead of the movie bothering to show us that the character has a violent streak all along. The editing is choppy and gives the effect of each character being all alone in his or her own little space most of the time. And the acting is all over the place, though when a couple of the actors go completely over the top it actually works pretty well.

The good news is that the premise is decent and the ending does offer up a good twist or two. It just takes an awfully long time to get there. The truly impatient might want to skip the first half hour.

Ian looking angry. The scenery's gorgeous if you look past the blood.


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