The Dark Military might be low-budget, but that certainly doesn’t stop it from being a great take on a classic horror slasher. A surprise treat!
The concept of The Dark Military combines Halloween, a survival game, and the slasher genre. What’s not to like? Not much, fortunately.
There’s a great vibe to the entire cast and impressive production value. While elements of the movie can feel a bit low-budget, it really isn’t something you notice much. Probably because it’s a modern-day slasher movie, which is supposed to be campy and a little off-beat.
Along with found footage, it’s one of the best subgenres to do with a smaller budget. And the cast definitely doesn’t feel low-budget. Instead, it feels like everyone is having a good time and 100 percent onboard.
The one “fail” of The Dark Military is towards the ending. Suddenly it feels like we’re watching some sort of wrestling special. It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise since several members of the cast and crew come from the wrestling world.
This also explains the impressive physique of several cast members, which is a huge plus and helps the story feel believable.
Now, I’ve watched my fair share of wrestling as a kid and can enjoy the campiness of it now. For me, it just goes a bit too far and doesn’t make for a better movie. Not in my book, anyway.
You can watch the trailer for The Dark Military right here or continue reading our review below.
The Dark Military will take your phone
The movie takes place on the night of Halloween where the future victims have signed up for a “survival game”. Of course, nobody expects they have to actually fight to survive. They just know there will be hunters and hope for an awesome Halloween experience.
From the beginning, there’s a brilliant move of taking all smartphones away from the survival game contestants. Not only does this make perfect sense for the purpose of the game, it also makes sure they can’t be located by officials. It’s such a simple thing, but when faced with what we think will be a great experience, people tend to let their guard down.
Especially, when alcohol is involved, which is the next brilliant step. Serve the people beer and they won’t notice what goes on around them.
I just love that the story itself takes away all the issues I usually have with these stories. People are so easily fooled so why not use these weaknesses? In The Dark Military, that’s exactly what seems to be the concept and I love it!
Making room for the story
It’s easy for a horror movie in this subgenre to just be one endless parade of crazy kill scenes. This is an area where The Dark Military excels at giving the audience more.
There are so many campy little details like several fake news-station reporters giving us updates. And we also spend time with characters in law enforcement. Both getting to know them before everything goes to Hell on the night of Halloween and during their nightmare.
Everything is being broadcast live via the Internet, which means it’s obvious to everyone that the police can’t find the place of these “survival games”. The police officer characters are interesting and less stereotypical than we often see – both in positive and negative ways.
The story takes place in a small town, which is a perfect setting since everybody knows one another. And for the police department, it means everyone lives in a “small town world”. Basically, the residents expect the police to fix everything quickly. A great detail that make for both realistic and campy moments.
Loren W. Lepre can do it all
It wasn’t until the ending of the movie that I looked up who was portraying the character “Barabbas”. He’s the one leading The Dark Military on this particular mission. To my own surprise, it’s the writer and director of the movie, Loren W. Lepre.
Apparently, this guy can do it all; Write, direct and act! Not a bad set of skills when working in low-budget.
Loren W. Lepre was previously a pro wrestler and then MMA fighter, so clearly he knows how to put on a good show. He also knows what the audience wants and does his best to give it to them.
Overall, I was extremely impressed and very entertained from the first to the very last scene. Yes, there are elements that could be improved upon – including the story. However, as a feature film debut as both writer and director, this is beyond what I would expect.
If you’re in the mood for a campy and bloody slasher movie, then The Dark Military is perfect for you.
The Dark Military is currently screening at various film festivals, so be sure to check it out when available in your area!
Director: Loren W. Lepre
Writer: Loren W. Lepre
Cast: R. Marcos Taylo, Alex Vincent, Sharon Lentz, Loren W. Lepre, Tony Angelo, Darrin Archer, Joe Barlam
What if a web cast, LIVE on Halloween, turned out to be a real life survival game? And what if the people hunting them are a rogue military? And eyes from the around the world are tuned in, and with a short window of time, officials need to find out where this broadcast is taking place? With all of technology taken away from the the young adults to slow down any rescue team from finding them, they find themselves with no weapons to defend themselves. Can they be found in time, as the world watches on?