Dark Stories is a bilingual French anthology featuring five shuddering stories set to thrill and chill. Adapted from a 5-part web series, and co-directed by Guillaume Lubrano and François Descraques, Dark Stories has been pieced together as one collective film which will receive its UK premiere at Arrow Video Frightfest this August.
Kristanna Loken stars as Christine, a woman captured in the attic of her own home by a malevolent mannequin. Inches from facing her death at the hands of his blade, she appeases her creepy captor by narrating five spine-chilling tales to bide her time and protect her son who is innocently sound asleep in his bedroom. The mannequin takes delight in scary stories, the more bone-chilling they are, the better, the stage is then set for what’s to come as we are terrorised behind the screen by demons, extra-terrestrials, zombies, djinn’s and ghosts.
Anthology horror is an excellent platform to explore the genre with the challenge of being as creative as possible within a short amount of time. Each segment in Dark Stories successfully delivers, with the tales getting better and better as the anthology unfolds. Its most favourable element is that it never takes itself too seriously and is unafraid to show off its campy side. Dark Stories playfully injects macabre humour throughout and is the type of film that will induce fear and laughter in equal measure.
The strongest of the stories comes in the shape of the latter entries to the film, there’s the zombie that mysteriously wakes up in the morgue which takes an unexpected trajectory, an unnerving suspense-driven tale centring on sleep paralysis and finally an intriguing segment set around the notion that aliens could exist. Michelle Ryan and Dominique Pinon give captivating performances as a reporter and perceived “crazy man” respectively, delivering the strongest performances of the entire piece. Tiphaine Daviot also deserves recognition for her believable performance as a tormented woman suffering with sleep paralysis. That said, the first two shorts are full of atmosphere. The first story set in an art museum contains some imaginative visuals while the second is a chilling slow-burn surrounding ghosts and murder.
Dark Stories is well paced and packs in a great deal in its 97-minute runtime. As the film progresses it becomes even more gripping, eagerly anticipating the next story as the tension builds and the fear factor intensifies. As with all anthologies, each segment will not be for everyone and the beauty of it is if one tale isn’t striking a chord, there’s not too long to wait for the next one to come along that might be even better.
Incorporating a creepy tone alongside a tongue-in-cheek demeanour, Dark Stories is plenty of fun, wearing its heart on its sleeve that’s sure to appeal to horror fans who enjoy their scares mixed with dark humour.
Dark Stories screens at Arrow Video Frightfest: Digital Edition on Monday 31st August 2020 at 6pm on the Arrow Video Screen.
Dark Stories is a hidden spooky gem that should not be missed!
Read Five FrightFest Facts From Guillaume Lubrano director of Dark Stories HERE