Director – Tara Anaïse
Cast – Ron Eagle D’Andre II, Adam Haley, Sage Howard
Release Year – 2014
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Dark Mountain is so bad that I completely forgot to write about it until now, two weeks after viewing it. I was in the mood for a found-footage film and I had seen nearly every good one available, so I had to settle for this mess. As the genre becomes saturated with this filmmaking style I have seen more and more fans wishing it would die. That had not been the case for me because I enjoyed quite a few of these films, but Dark Mountain is a prime example for the “found-footage needs to die” argument.
In March of 2011 three filmmakers embarked on a mission to document their search for the Lost Dutchman mine deep in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona. They never returned, their bodies were never found, but their camera was.
This marks the debut film of director / co-writer Tara Anaise, as well as co-writer Tamara Blaich. The story begins like most other found footage films, with the crew heading to their destination and interviewing the locals about the strange disappearances of those who have gone looking for the Lost Dutchman mine and never returned. It does not take long before they themselves are within the mountain range and following in the same steps as the ill-fated souls before them. We soon learn that the phenomena behind the Superstitions Mountains has to do with alien abductions, and we see the first proof of an alien presence 29 minutes in. As the filmmakers move deeper within the mountains they come across clues that indicate the previous fools who went missing are no longer alive, a fate they will soon experience themselves.
The story has decent action, but it never manifests to anything scary and does not show much for the viewer to enjoy. With such little enjoyable horror the experience worsens with its unlikable characters who do nothing to progress the film or provide solid conflict. Instead, they bicker, fight, and are poorly executed in both writing and direction. I really wanted more from the alien presence, but we are only teased with scenes that are pretty much pointless and never manifest into a full-frontal force.
Anaise’s direction is equally as poor as her writing, starting the film on a poor note with her attempts to provide a vintage feel. The flick is shown in a washed-out sepia tone that was more annoying than it should have been. This vintage wannabe effect also applies to the musical score, which was the equivalent to a terrible try-hard folk band that recorded their EP inside a port-a-potty. With the actors delivering the majority of the horror you would hope for good performances, but you will have to look elsewhere for that. But hey, at least the film looks like an Instagram video.
Overall, Dark Mountain isn’t really a disappointment because it was never meant to be good in the first place. Stay away from this one.