The Dark Tapes (2016)

Paul Andolina is back to share an anthology movie with us. He’s always a welcome guest on our site. If you like his stuff, check out his site Wrestling with Film

Lately, I have been finding it increasingly difficult to sit down and watch a movie. I’ve started half a dozen in the past week and a half and never finished a single one. It’s been a while since I’ve written about a film as well but I managed to wake up at a normal time and start a film that had been on my watch list ever since I first heard word of it, The Dark Tapes.

My close personal friends are all too aware of my obsessions with certain genres and sub genres of film. When I first started collecting movies as a hobby in 2011, my obsession was found footage films. I’m still wildly taken by them and track down and watch them like an insatiable maniac. 

The Dark Tapes is a found footage anthology film. It involves 4 tapes plus a wraparound. The longest of these tapes is To Catch A Demon which involves Martin, a physics professor, his assistant, Nicole, and a technician, Jason. They are setting up an experiment to catch a trans-dimensional entity but things don’t quite go as planned. This tape is broken into 4 segments that air in between the other 3 tapes. It is the most fully realized out of the tapes and feels like a movie in of itself.

The other tapes are The Hunter & The Hunted, Cam Girls and Amanda’s Revenge, then there is the wraparound which concerns the location where Martin and his team conduct their experiment in To Catch A Demon.

The Hunter & The Hunted is about a couple, David and Karen, who is being disturbed by some sort of entity. They hire a team of ghost hunters who attempt to help them when something goes wrong during the investigation. This one had a lot of promise and I still enjoyed it but the ending was a bit of a let down.

Cam Girls is about a young girl, Caitlin, who moves out west to get away from her overbearing Christian family and to be with her girlfriend Sindy. Caitlin is worried about her little blackouts and not remembering what she has been doing during that time. They run a little cam show where they choose a lucky viewer for a private session. The girls are acting weirdly though as Sindy wants Caitlin to get their viewer to draw some blood. This one was sort of uncomfortable to watch being a fly on the wall during a private cam session. There isn’t much nudity if any but it still has some oddly disturbing scenes of sensuality.

Amanda’s Revenge is about Amanda, who after getting pretty wasted at a party wakes up screaming about what they did to her. It turns out she has been getting abducted by aliens and she enlists the help of her friends to make sure she never gets abducted again. This segment was the most fun as Amanda also has developed some sort of telekinetic powers which leads to some pretty cool visual effects. 

Overall, this movie was extremely entertaining. It had great practical and visual effects with a particular part of The Hunter & The Hunted that involves a light up ball and a hallway left me wondering how did they accomplished it.

The girl who plays Caitlin in Cam Girls was also in another found footage anthology film, VHS Viral, that I feel gets a bum wrap most of the time. It’s still an enjoyable film if you are a fan of found footage. 

The Dark Tapes is a must see if you are a fan of unique ways to record and frame a portmanteau film, especially with the use of older technology in Amanda’s Revenge. The way they bring in old recording equipment in that tape is really neat. It may be emulated using newer technology but it still looks really freaking cool. You can check out The Dark Tapes on Amazon Prime video or pick it up on DVD online When I first bought it, it wasn’t very readily available and I had to wait for my local video rental store to put it on sale. It’s the best $5 I’ve spent in a while.

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