COLD AND DARK

2 out of 10

Release Date: 14th June 2005

Director: Andrew Goth (Gallowwalkers)

Cast: Luke Goss, Kevin Howarth, Matt Lucas, Carly Jane Turnbull, David Baker, Carrie Clark, Steven Elder, Jake Curran and David Gant

Writer: Joanne Reay

Trailer: COLD AND DARK

1422545_755647314473233_3028191104595137343_nHere’s a first – a buddy cop horror set in Falmouth and St Agnes in North Cornwall. Andrew Goth director of the unusually flashy yet muddled Gallowwalkers cut his horror teeth on this weird yet far from wonderful movie. It begins like a tepid buddy cop movie in the Hollywood mould of good cop and wild cop on the trail of evil Cornish people smugglers and then turns into a horror (comedy?) that aspires to be an update of  early 90s Brit-pic Split Second. Luke Goss (INTERVIEW WITH A HITMAN) is John Dark, the nice cop and Kevin Howarth (SUMMER SCARS) is Mortimer Shade, the odd one. Near the beginning Shade gets turned into a monster inside a fridge and goes about using his new form as an excuse to kill all the bad guys. Dark seems to like this but what happens when there’s no bad guys left to kill? Who will Shade turn into his next bed time snack.

Ludicrous plot turns and gaps in production continuity render huge parts of Cold and Dark incomprehensible. The makers seems to have used choral music and slow motion to pave over the cracks in the narrative just because they look and sound cool. Later on Matt Lucas’ (BRIDESMAIDS) MI-5 Fox Mulder alike turns up with some long overdue explanations as to what is happening. But this is where the film turns into a comedy!? I was giving up trying to keep up with events at this pout and tried to spot familiar places in Cornwall or admire the work that went into the lo-fi gory effects.

The performances were wildly erratic across the board from the wooden – hello Carly Jane Turnbull, to the theatrical ham to the power of 1000+ David Gant (OUTPOST 2) (putting in the strangest performance I’ve ever seen in a Britpic – worth a look maybe?) The script has huge gaps and what remains is tin eared and nonsensical. I did like one exchange in which Shade explains “It’s how you wear it,” when Dark compliments him on how well he suits the whole demonic possession thing. A brilliant line in a rear underpants explosion of a thriller/comedy/horror. Anything in which our hero shares bananas with his giant dog in the bath has to have been made by deluded loonies. And like my companion asks below, what the fuck happened to the dog?

2 out of 10 – Too weird to have been this way by design. Unusual but very, very trying. Gallowwalkers is way better.

Review Below by Joe Pesci II aka Matt Usher

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

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One thought on “COLD AND DARK

  1. COLD AND DARK – review by Matt Usher aka Joe Pesci II

    Usually, dear reader, I am an attentive and observant viewer of films, frequently making notes as I watch, so that I might convey to you the essence of the film and the viewing experience; I aim to observe every last detail, to find meaning in each nuance, to eke out every last ounce of information the film-makers have woven into their mise-en-scene. With COLD AND DARK I just couldn’t be bothered. It’s terrible. And not in an interesting way. And besides, I don’t think the film-makers paid an awful amount of attention themselves. After all, the main characters in COLD AND DARK are called Dark and, erm, Shade. Why didn’t they call the film DARK AND SHADE? It’s not difficult to do; ITV used to manage it all the time: Rosemary and Thyme, Close and True, Doc Martin.

    Anyway, Luke Goss plays a policeman (Dark) who’s really good, even though he may not (shock horror!) always play by the rules. He’s partnered with odd cop Kevin Howarth (Shade) (first name: Mortimer) (honest), who NEVER plays by the rules, and has a penchant for having secret meetings at the top of a really, really tall crane in an abandoned industrial-dock-type place. (Even before he turns bad.) (That might be a spoiler.) Goss seems to attempt a Jude Law impersonation, and I have no idea what Howarth thinks he’s doing.

    So Dark and Shade are investigating a plot to do with people-smuggling and bad guys who are untouchable because they’re too close to the government or something like that. But they get taken off the case because the case is really being investigated by some girly police-lady who is only in the film to give Goss something pretty to look at. (Don’t blame me I’m only reporting what the film-makers have done.) But that doesn’t stop them.

    And then a dodgy lawyer winds up dead and generally eviscerated. For those of you who like seeing gore in films this is pretty good, though you never see the goriness occurring, just the results. Normal film-goers will find little of interest though. A spate of killings follows, and Goss soon works out the truth. Actually I can’t remember if he works it out or if the villain just reveals himself. But this puts Goss into a moral quandary which he ignores at first (obviously Howarth is the villain who seems to have somehow acquired some strange supernatural killing ability after looking in a fridge). But then Goss realises that he can’t ignore it so he has a showdown with the big police boss (played by David Gant who must have been a proper actor once because his filmography includes GANDHI – well I guess you have to take the work where you can these days). This scene juxtaposes Goss’s insipid non-acting with Gant’s gargantuan scenery-chewing over-acting and is both zenith and nadir of this film. Neither emerges with credit, but it needs to be seen to be disbelieved. The director of this film either doesn’t know how to work with actors or issues them with some very odd instructions.

    Anyway, Goss finds an unlikely ally in Matt Lucas as a sort of bargain basement Basil Exposition / Fox Muldur who just happens to know exactly what the problem is (it’s some sort of supernatural fridge-dwelling parasite). Between them they come up with a plan (like Fred and Velma did in Scooby Doo). And then it all finishes after a bit of fighting and an explosion or two (probably) and a damsel in distress and some sort of twist ending so untwisted that you won’t even notice it.

    Poorly acted, appallingly written, the film clearly wants to be set in the Bronx. Early on, there’s a scene where Goss has to approach a potential crime scene, stealthily and armed. At first I thought he was attempting to be realistic, as no-one behaves in tense situations in the way that they hope: he’s darting about all over the place waving his gun around like a sparkler; I gave him the benefit of the doubt. But then I realised he really was attempting to do ‘cool running about with a gun’ acting. It is woeful. Matt Lucas turns up about half an hour after I thought he’d got killed (I thought he was the bald bit-part player and had been bumped up the cast list for being famous – this is quite an old film) and is quite funny in an incongruous way. He’s clearly been told to send it up and be zany and that’s what he does. The total utter disjunction works, but only in that it gives us something else to gawp at whilst the film motors gradually through its very, very standard plot (I’m pretty certain it’s just a reheated X File).

    Goss and Howarth are seen to better effect in other films (INTERVIEW WITH A HITMAN and SUMMER SCARS respectively) but here it just seems that they’ve either been left to their own devices by an unhelpful director, or given very bad instructions by an incompetent director. The director in question also (I think) made GALLOWWALKERS which is considerably better than this despite its leading man being hauled off to jail halfway through the shoot. The problem with COLD AND DARK (aside from the aforementioned dull script, hackneyed story, bad / odd acting and lamentably flat direction) is that it feels so half-hearted. It’s almost as if the actors are just humouring a director (or possibly the other way round) whilst the gore department is the only one to have received any funding or interest from the bosses. But rarely has so much gore been splattered to so little effect.

    But what about the dog? Goss’s character has a dog early on, and a rather good one it is too, even though Goss seems to share a bath with it, which is a bit weird. After being named as a suspect in the first killing, we never see it again. I fear the worst.

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