We’re nearly three weeks removed from Halloween, but watching films that center around the holiday is a year-around pleasure of mine. This particular Halloween film is called The Dark Military. If you’re like me, you’ll assume from the title alone that the movie centers around the actual military, though perhaps they’re demonically possessed monsters who feast on the flesh of the American people (or something like that). For better or worse, that’s NOT the plot of this film, but you may find yourself wishing that it was.
Written and directed by Loren W. Lepre, The Dark Military follows contestants of a web cast survival game as they find themselves in actual danger after agreeing to be featured in the special Halloween event. Their masked assailants, who have recently been in the news for murder, lure the contestants in with free beer and the promise of internet fame, only to set them loose in a forest and force them to run for their lives over the course of the two hour event. If they manage to survive the hunt, then they will leave the forest with their lives intact. Sounds promising, right?
Aside from a fun premise that’s reminiscent of Battle Royale, The Hunger Games, and even the Stone Cold Steve Austin-starring The Condemned, there’s little to no redeeming quality to be found within The Dark Military. I hate to rag on any film, especially one that’s made on such a noticeably low budget, but Lepre’s film falters in nearly every aspect, be it acting, dialogue, ridiculous plot devices, unexplained motives, and nonsensical plot twists.
This is a film that isn’t practiced in subtlety, save for the underwhelming death scenes. A horny guy is on screen? Let’s play a song about “eating pussy” for every meal in the background. The killers need to sound intimidating? Let’s have them throw around insults like “pussy faggot” and “vagina head” (If you can read the latter insult without laughing, you’re stronger than I). The film doesn’t shy away from offensive material, but it features such lackluster death sequences that you’ll swear the characters are larping rather than actually biting the dust.
It’s mind-boggling that so many bizarre choices went into the making of The Dark Military. Whether it’s a forced girl-on-girl scene, nude boobs just for the sake of nude boobs, or an out-of-nowhere cameo by Alex Vincent as some guy named Vince, you’ll find yourself alternating between unintentional laughter and frustrating disbelief (There’s a character twist at the end that A.) makes no sense, and B.) you won’t care about anyway).
The Dark Military is a trainwreck, but fortunately for the film, it’s one that’s impossible to stop watching. If that sounds like a good time, this movie was tailor made for you. If not, you’re better off skipping it entirely.