The Dark Tapes is a found footage horror/science fiction anthology from writer Michael McQuown, who co-directed the film alongside Vincent J. Guastini. Sticking with the basic anthology format, The Dark Tapes features a wrap around story with several other shorts woven into its structure. Unlike similar movies, however, McQuown’s film subverts our expectations at every possible turn, ultimately delivering a found footage flick that is refreshingly unique and ambitious beyond comparison.
Crafted on a low budget, the filmmakers wisely focus on building a compelling and tense narrative rather than front-loading the anthology with distracting visual effects (some of the effects actually work quite well, but not all are created equally). The Dark Tapes is also stacked with a strong cast of (mostly) unknown actors who carry the film above and beyond the confines of it budget. The acting in indie films tends to go either way, so I was delighted to find performances of this impressive magnitude.
It’s made abundantly clear in the early stages of The Dark Tapes that McQuown and Guastini were aiming to give us something new. While you’ll certainly get an all-too-familiar feeling early in the film, hang tight. It doesn’t take long at all to shatter your expectations and blow your fucking mind.
For all of its magnificent ambition and masterful craftsmanship, however, The Dark Tapes is not a perfect film. While it explores fascinating ideas of the horror and science fiction variety, there’s not much of note that is memorably frightening apart from two or three sequences, and like most anthologies, this has its weaker segments (particularly the “Cam Girls” short) as well. Still, The Dark Tapes makes the most of its modest budget and delivers a smart, expertly crafted found footage anthology that claws its way into the upper echelon of both subgenres. It’s a blast.
If you want to see The Dark Tapes for yourself, you can pre-order the award winning anthology on iTunes, or catch it on Google Play, Vudu, iNDemand (Comcast- Xfinity, Time Warner, Cox, Bright House & more), Dish TV, Amazon, Vubiquity (Verizon Fios, Charter, Sudden Link, Media Com &more), Xbox, Playstation, Sling TV or Vimeo when the film is released on April 18th! I can’t recommend it enough.