As a US city experiences mild earthquakes and power cuts the citizens try their best to get on with enjoying Christmas. But as the sun sets and a blackout leaves the whole place in darkness, the residents of one particular residential building discover that there is something monstrous in the pitch black.
And it really couldn’t come at a worse time. There’s a cool house party going on in one apartment; in another, a couple are trying to resolve their marital problems and there’s also a family down the corridor who are fighting against all odds to get their turkey cooked.
The dark creatures that come out of the shadows look kind of like men in rubber gimp suits with long scorpion-like tails, which they use to chop at their victims with.
Although they might not sound overly scary, close up they look nasty enough. The special effects in this movie are good, and although some corners may have been cut, the monsters certainly do the job. You have to give credit to anyone who tries to create a new type of hideous creature.
The slow opening pace of the movie soon quickens and if you can make it beyond the pointless dialogue to the action, you’re likely to be interested enough to follow it through.
There are however two main problems with The Blackout, the first being the characters.
There are just too many of them, too many to even name or pick out really, and none of them stands out – there’s no apparent hero/heroine as such.
The director also found it necessary to try to give them all a bit of back story, even if they aren’t that important – hence the abundance of dialogue at the start. Your usual horror movie character conventions aren’t really followed either which makes it hard for you to associate with them.
Problem number two is the acting. Out of the twelve or so key members of the cast, only two of them provide a convincing performance, and one of those is a child.
The best way to describe it is that it’s like watching a film containing all of the auditions – of the ones that weren’t good enough to star in it – except for some reason they made the final cut. Hope that make sense.
It’s an odd situation as the set and effects really are of a high calibre. It really does seem that the budget was balanced by getting the budget acting talent in.
The motives of the producers do become more apparent when you reach the confusing/frustrating ending.
This film is a budget attempt at an epic movie, like 2012 or Independence Day, but made with a fraction of the finances. It’s a brave thing to try, but ultimately diliutes any good elements which is a shame because the core ideas could have worked had they been scaled down to a sensible size.