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DVD Review

DVD cover

The Absence of Light


Starring: Tom Savini, Michael Berryman, Tony Todd, David Hess and Caroline Munro
RRP: £12.99
Certificate: 15
Available 07 February 2011

When assassins-for-hire Puritan and Sultan become mixed-up in a conspiracy to wipe out any sleaze in a bid to get an unscrupulous Senator re-elected at all costs, they find themselves caught in in the middle of a backlash between two deadly rival organisations, run by The Higher Power and Whiplash. Into the mix comes a scientific breakthrough which involves bio-engineered super-beings. The medical benefits could save millions of lives, but the two rival factions are only interested in creating their own armies of super-soldiers...

As I’m certain people will remind me that I’ve said on numerous occasions, a debut writer/director project can equally carry either the Midas touch or an albatross of misfortune around the neck - depending primarily on the strength of the script and the players. It’s as if Patrick Desmond has collected together his own team of heroes from his childhood; with minor horror and fantasy dignitaries such as Michael Berryman (The Hills Have Eyes), David Hess (The Last House on the Left), Tony Todd (Candyman), Tom Savini (Grindhouse), and visual effects past master Tom Sullivan, all pitching in to give credence to his first foray into films. Unfortunately, the whole thing has a very amateur feel to it. The actors speak their lines rather than act and feel them, the sound is hollow as if recorded in a sparse office or gymnasium, and, quite frankly, there isn’t even much of a story to get excited about. Not even two or three brief appearances by the first lady of fantasy, the very lovely Caroline Munro, can raise the interest stakes enough to actually care.

Also, structurally, the film is rather segmented, when it should be flowing smoothly from scene to scene. When the script calls for such excesses as a building blowing up or a particularly unsavoury demise and the budget so obviously can’t stretch to it, then the script storyboarding should be toned-down accordingly. Instead, we get cheap video-effect flames, and theatre blood spatter on to glass. I really wanted to like this, because of the people in it; however, the truth is it just didn’t do anything for me.


Ty Power

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