Aparsen Lifestyle magazine.

Thomas Jane’s 2009 Dark Country

It’s nice when you stumble across a movie that is unique in its story line kto volal. Inevitably though you find some part along the way that mimics another so its never truly totally unique. It’s frustrating as I long for originality so often and just as often am let down.

Ahhh well…. at least there is still an abundance of enjoyment in the 120 give or take minutes.

Today’s feature is Dark Country. A straight to DVD release, it’s a movie about a guy and his new wife heading to Sedona for their honeymoon. Apparently theirs was a whirlwind romance that took place over the course of approximately 24 hours in Vegas. After watching this movie, I think the saying should more accurately state “what happens in Vegas should STAY in Vegas” but that’s just my .02.

Typical for movies taking place in or around Vegas, their journey to their marital life of happiness takes them through the deserts of Arizona. This is a sure fire foreboding of inevitable doom and gloom to come. Too bad, too. They seemed like such a happy couple.

Dark Country stars Thomas Jane as Dick (yes, the Thomas Jane of HBO’s Hung, making his name is this flick kind of ironic, not to mention he also directed it so no surprise for the implied reference to his somewhat new HBO show) and Lauren German as Gina (Lauren has been in some B movies but nothing of any real notoriety.)

Certain stereotypes come to light pretty much from the word go, such as Dick getting lost and refusing to ask for directions, with Gina blaming him for everything that eventually goes wrong, up to and including the weather. It’s about this time when their heated discussion of fault causes them to hit a guy standing in the middle of the road out in the middle of their desert nowhere. The drifter seemingly had a bit of a mishap prior to their arrival as evidenced by his overturned burning car, and his bloodied and mangled face and body. Now here is where it starts to get weird as their new travel companion (gotta get him to a hospital, after all) seems to know one (if not both) of them. This cranks up Dick’s paranoia factor in that his new bride may not be so pristine (imagine that) and Gina getting more and more defensive and distant.

Dark Country is rather mysterious, and that is the basis I think Thomas Jane was going for: to keep the viewer guessing. You’ll come to certain conclusions easy enough as not much is involved in this film except a car, a rest area, desert, and less than 10 speaking characters, one of which is the B king Ron Perlman. I think this supports the “B” movie quality as the budget could not have been very high, however I suppose the actors negate that theory.

Although Dark Country does not offer a lot of blood or guts, supernatural elements or even zombies, it’s aura sucks you in and captivates you with its surreal eeriness. It’s surprisingly original in a Holly-world of copycats and remakes. For this reason you will feel a sense of familiar concepts as seen in other movies, but if you don’t get caught up in trying to place the moment, you will be impressed with Dark Country’s somewhat original twist. It keeps you guessing - and thinking - even after the credits roll (not to mention the monkey wrench it throws in your false-based knowledge of events.) If all this sounds somewhat cryptic, watch the movie. You will then understand fully.

Dark Country is the kind of movie I feel I could watch repeatedly, even knowing what the ending brings. I think each viewing would present something missed previously, offering alternate viewpoints every time.

So would I consider Dark Country LBOH recommended? Most definitely. So much so that it might even find its way into my vault of keepers.