On a long cold stretch of Nevada Highway… make sure you do your best Rod Serling voice for maximum effect… newlyweds Richard and Gina are on their way to start their new lives. Unfortunately on their journey to happiness they will encounter some difficulties, face some challenges and learn that sometimes a man found dying in the street is better left dead… in the ‘Dark Country’.
So Richard (Thomas Jane) and Gina (Lauren German) apparently met a few nights earlier, they had sex together real good which was apparently more than enough reason for the pair to go ahead and get hitched. Now it’s off to Sedona to start that life together but there are some WANTED posters of Gina floating around this town, not to mention the weird dude at the counter giving out directions, but whatever, it’s road trip time. Don’t concern yourself with those WANTED posters. Seriously. Ignore them.
Now our couple is driving through the night in a really old car getting to know each other… I think it’s Gina’s car but I’m not sure, not that it matters. Richard is not happy with the fact that Gina smokes but damn, Gina sure does know how to have fun with an ice cube so we’ll let that slide. Then they almost hit The Dude. Who is this dude? We don’t know but he is mighty messed up considering he’s missing his face and his ride is wrecked all to hell. Gina suggests they leave him be but Richard and his good heart pack the dude up and load him in the back seat so they can get him some help… but then the freeway ends. Hmmm…. Time to backtrack and now Gina is becoming increasingly unhappy with her choice in mates and his crappy ability to read a map. The wrecked car is missing on the backtrack but they seem cool with that. Then there’s the messed up weirdo in the back seat who has come around somewhat and seems to know both Richard and Gina and is rather mean and insulting to the couple. Then he tries to kill Richard for whatever reason.
A bad evening then gets progressively worse for Richard and Gina as they find themselves getting deeper and deeper into trouble, trouble that there seems no way to get out of, on this road that apparently leads to nowhere.
So after this movie ends the first credit that comes up is ‘Directed by Thomas Jane’ and my heart kind of sank. You see I actually like Thomas Jane. There’s no rhyme or reason to this since I don’t know Thomas Jane but he seems like a nice person. So after I read that he had directed this movie I was disappointed because now I’m about to dog out Thomas Jane’s movie and that makes me sad.
Anyway ‘Dark Country’ starts off slow. Real slow. The first half hour or so is just Richard and Jane driving down a lonely stretch of CG highway and while they are talking to each other they really don’t have anything of any real substance to say to one another. You would think this wouldn’t be the case since they just met each other and should have all kinds of thrilling tidbits of info to say to each other but outside of Gina and the Ice Cube, there really wasn’t much going on. What I’m waiting for is for them to hit something. I don’t know what they’re gonna hit but I know it has happen, it’s just taking forever.
Finally they find the guy in the road and from the span of time to when they find the guy to around the time Ron Perlman shows up some time later as a State Trooper ‘Dark Country’ gets a lot better because now the actors have something to do, something to react to, there’s a little mystery going on, a little intrigue and things are taking root. Eventually, whatever is happening, whatever our newlyweds are experiencing has to have some kind of resolution and this is where everything falls apart, only this time for good. I had a good idea who the f’d up dude in the back seat was so the questions that needed answering were how and why, but sadly those answers weren’t forthcoming. Seriously, the way the movie ended… I just don’t know because… something had to have gone wrong.
Initially I’m thinking I missed something, then I’m leaning towards the simple fact that I’m really not all that bright and it just went over my head, but now I’m more inclined to think that something just went way wrong production-wise. An average episode of ‘The Twilight Zone’ which this movie feels a lot like, takes only a half hour to confound and then clarify, where as this took ninety plus minutes to only confound. I don’t know a heckuva lot about the movie making process but I’m pretty sure that the script that got approved and the final product can’t be near the same. Without having a clue about anything I’m guessing no one would sign off on the version of the script that we ended up seeing. Just a guess. It’s almost as this movie is missing a reel. Unfortunately for Thomas Jane, since he’s director and the star, most of the blame for this confusing, disjointed mess is going to fall in his lap, but as I said earlier I like the guy because he seems like a good guy and I’m sure he probably has some stories to tell on why his directorial debut turned out the way that it did. Personally speaking if I were directing something for the first time I would probably go easy on the CGI (This movie was supposed to screened in 3D) and the twisty story and keep it as simple as possible, but that’s just me because remember, I’m not all that bright.
Regardless, whatever the reasons behind it the bottom line is that ‘Dark Country’ is pretty much a crap movie. Whaddayagonnado?