Starring: Dominique Pinon, Jeff Fahey and Dan van Husen
Mosaic Entertainment
Certificate: 15
Available 20 September 2004

After shooting dead a woman, a female psychologist confesses to a priest. In the back story we see a man drive to a school for his teaching job. Outside he is slightly injured after being bustled by some older boys. Splashing water on his face in the washroom, he is amazed to find he has only a partial reflection. Returning home, he demands to know if his wife can see him, but she simply becomes hysterical and so he fl
ees the house. Meanwhile, the psychologist is speaking to a patient who is convinced she is not insane. The patient's husband had been in a coma for five years, after a road accident they were in, and she visited the hospital everyday to check on his progress. However, she arrived one day to find he's perfectly healthy and it is she who had been missing for ages. Later the psychologist's car breaks down and she runs into the teacher. After a confrontation they walk to a diner where she tries to get to the bottom of his problem, but all the person behind the counter can see is the teacher, an apparent madman, arguing with himself. Then a creepy man with long fingernails shows up asking her about the teacher who has fled again, and a confrontation takes place between him and a cowled figure whose face is perpetually aflame...

Now, did you follow all that? No, neither did I, and therein lies the problem. This film tries to be totally mysterious until the end, but it just doesn't work. Your immediate confused reaction is to lose interest and brand it as tosh. Nothing is explained until very late, and even then it's all crammed into the last ten or fifteen minutes. You have to whet the viewer's appetite; give them a snippet or two of intriguing information, otherwise they'll simply switch off.

If I was to say that the psychologist woman was hit by a car whilst carrying a cat when she was little, and that their souls were somehow merged, giving her the power to see dead people (in this context cats have that power naturally), you'll begin to get the picture. The teacher is dead, but his soul has not yet been taken. Souls are extremely valuable on the black market and demon bounty hunters (our friend with the fingernails and the flaming monk) are trying to steal it. The psychologist soon learns it is her lot in life to finish these limbo people off so that their souls can return to their Maker.

Darkhunters could have been so much more had it been structured differently. There are a couple of good moments in it, the best being the not entirely benign angel that arrives for the teacher's soul, which is very nicely done. A great play is made about the released soul joining a bigger light which races out into space past a multitude of planets, but as we are not shown its final destination the sequence proves entirely pointless.

A missed opportunity.

Ty Power