Dark World (2007)
Spoilers ahead (but does it really matter is a POS like this?)
What do you get when you assemble Michael Pare, Theresa Russell, Steven Bauer and James Russo in one film? Just about the jowliest cast ever committed to celluloid. Every one of these B and C list actors were lookin’ looong in the tooth.
This is one of the flat out dumbest movies ever made. Pare plays the worst detective in the history of police movies, on the case of a serial killer. He has an injured foot, so he pretty much never leaves his L.A. home. I mean, Jesus, even Ironside, who was stuck in a fucking wheelchair, got around. Pare’s partner Bob, who looks a lot like Finnegan from the old Star Trek episode “Shore Leave,” just brings all the files and photos to Pare’s home. (Bob is played by the movie's executive producer, so that should tip off you the reader that the acting is pretty bad across the board.)
Pare is narrating this thing, noir style, in a drone so monotonous that you have to fight your eyes rolling up into your head after three minutes of it. (When crooks take hostages, the authorities might want to look into blasting Pare’s dialogue through loudspeakers, thereby putting the hostage takers into a coma, and then they just waltz in without firing a shot.)
In the beginning, this movie is obsessed with constantly putting up the location and the time of day on the screen with each new scene, as in “Los Angeles, 7:31am” and “Las Vegas, 4: 15pm,” but then it just stops doing that after a while. I know, WTF?
There’s so much plot about Pare and his ex-wife Theresa Russell, Russell and her boyfriend Bauer’s shenanigans, Pare’s partner’s wife coming on to him, Russo the father of a kidnap victim, Pare's wacky neighbor and her weirdass grown son, and, of course, the chief of police is on Pare’s ass. Plus Pare’s kid is not happy with Russell his estranged mom, and on and on. And, oh, did I mention there’s a fucking serial killer afoot?
Here’s the spoiler: in an M. Night Shymalan-like twist at the end we find out Pare is the killer. He went schizo-bananas for some reason (I was fast forwarding at this point to avoid coma-ville) and just IMAGINED himself to be a top L.A.P.D detective (and he doesn’t have a bum foot). He also apparently imagined Bob his partner and most of the cast, including his own son. (And yes, I imagine the writer/director Zia Mojabi sang The Twilight Zone theme as he pitched the twist ending to this offal.) If you're going to have a twist ending like this, then you really should play the rest of the movie straight, make the audience think it's watching a cop thriller, then pull the rug out from under them. By having Pare spend all his time "investigating" things while sitting in his crappy home with his bum foot elevated does NOT make for thrilling viewing; it makes the character look like a complete idiot.
It’s funny that Pare’s character is so far gone that he imagines all these people and events in his life, including having a son, but he can’t imagine having decent furniture in his home. It all looks like Goodwill cast offs (and probably was in this low budg effort). His young teenage son’s room is all bare walls – what kind of teenager today doesn’t have posters and shit all over every square inch of his room? Plus the home had floor to ceiling curtains – in L.A. - and not just on the walls: there were curtains in odd places. Ohhh, the director probably said, it ties in with the dilapidated shack that Pare actually lives in at the end. Ba-loney. Not buying it.
Will someone please tell me why Michael Pare keeps getting work? I mean he has made a living as an actor for close to 30 years. Here’s a tip casting directors: Pare can’t act. Yes, he’s a rugged, good-looking guy, but He. Cannot. Act.
Let me tell you of the two best scenes in the movie. Pare does get out of his Brady pad and gets in a car, twice. Both times it is painfully obvious it was shot in a darkened garage with one guy shaking the car while another guy shined a light through the back window. There are ways to do that correctly (I know, cuz I was the guy rocking the car in one short film I helped out on!), but this wasn’t it.
So why did I pick this one up tonight? Because the DVD back cover credits had this at the end: “A film By and Directed by Zia Mojabi.” There was no writing credit on the DVD.
And that pretty much sums it up.