A film starring Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult and Chloe Grace Moretz that was released day and day release On-Demand and in theaters? Sounds like a great deal! But while releasing films to rent alongside theatrical release is gaining popularity among smaller budget films, the trend still warrants caution regarding the quality of film you're about to embark on. So does Dark Places warrant a warning sign or is it simply a smaller film that you get the chance to watch from the comfort of your own couch?
Unfortunately, the former continues to be the case as Dark Places isn't able to deliver. The dark thriller is based on a novel by Gillian Flynn, the same writer than penned Gone Girl and it does possess the same twist-laden storyline. However, the suspense isn't there this time around and ultimately you find yourself searching for reasons to stay interested.
Charlize Theron plays Libby Day, the only female survivor when her family is murdered in the mid-eighties. Now she is coerced into re-visiting her past and as she looks into her family tragedy begins to un-cover previously overlooked details to the case.
The film feels entirely small in scale and based on production and direction alone, it is obvious that this was no cinematic fare. The picture quality is grainy (and not only for gritty effect) and the directing style is distinctively tv. Even for a an HBO movie, this production value wouldn't cut it.
All of the actor involved are giving it their best efforts. Theron shines, sprinkling in signs of her performances from Young Adult and Mad Max to create a screwed up chick that's jaded from the hand life has dealt. Chloe Grace Moretz is perfectly insane as a young love interest and Nicholas Hoult is a nice blend of likeable an creepy.
The biggest issue with Dark Places is that for all of it's twists and turns, it lacks excitement and turns out to be rather boring. A murder mystery is unfolding before your eyes and yet it's difficult to not drift off. This is the second direct to on-demand film of the last year to star name talent (Ethan Hawke in 'Good Kill') and luckily this isn't on that level of dull but isn't worth even the $8.00 rental tag. Wait for Redbox.