Dark Windows 2023

Dark Windows is a 2023 American horror written by Ulrvik Kraft and directed by Alex Herron in his first feature-length film. Three teenagers, who were all involved in the fatal car accident that killed their friend, head to a remote farmhouse to grieve and overcome their recent trauma. It quickly becomes clear, however, that someone holds them responsible and wishes to torment the now isolated trio. It looks, on the face of it, to be a perfect setup for a bit of old-school slasher/home invasion fun with theatrical, bloody revenge being wrought upon the guilt-ridden teens, a la I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997).

The film is shot reasonably well, with the daytime countryside standing out in stark comparison to the low-lit interiors and deep blackness that cages the teenagers during night-time hours. The cast is, however, clearly far older than the teens they are meant to portray, and the film’s Scandinavian location is not easily mistaken for the intended American setting. Anna Bullard plays the lead, Tilly, who has taken on the heaviest burden in the wake of their friend’s death, while Rory Alexander and The Wolf of Snow Hollow’s (2020) Annie Hamilton make up the doomed triplet.


Dark Windows 2023

Dark Windows suffers from a very poor script and takes itself far too seriously. In attempting to tackle various emotionally weighty issues, it only highlights the limited range of the cast and feels more like a sub-par teen soap opera. Flashbacks are pieced together and the details surrounding the car accident are unsubtly shown, and explained, to try and engineer an interesting twist to the movie.

By attempting to explore the various ways the main characters are dealing with guilt, with pills, alcohol, and avoidance; Dark Windows spends two-thirds of its ninety-minute run time dealing, poorly, with these not particularly interesting characters and their badly written interactions. Their conversations are filled with clumsy exposition and amdram lines of awkwardly delivered dialogue.


Dark Windows 2023

The score is also rather unimaginative, only succeeding in adding hallmark overtones to any supposedly emotional high points and exacerbating the daytime soap sensibilities.

The film fails as a slasher, as there are too few characters that could get slashed, and there is far too little captive threat for a home invasion. Attempts at building dread and tormenting the teens are almost entirely lost on them and fail to really concern the viewers. Add to this the countless ludicrous decisions, on the part of the protagonists, and the actions of all involved make less and less sense. There’s a strange out-of-place fight scene and the film’s climax attempts to include a surprise reveal that is pretty unsurprising, as we’ve seen precious little of the group’s would-be killer.


Dark Windows 2023

The final five minutes feel oddly tacked on as the film swerves into torture territory with our trio undergoing poetically justified physical abuse at the hands of the now unmasked assailant. Although one death is fairly well done, and verges on being interestingly original, the finale is bizarrely rushed and undermines all of the preceding activities of the unhinged villain.

Although looking fairly nice, I’m afraid Dark Windows doesn’t offer up anything new, or particularly interesting, for the home invasion or teen killer genres. I can’t help feeling it got the ratio of attempted character development to horror thrills entirely the wrong way around.

Dark Windows (2023) will screen in Select Theaters and On Demand from August 18th.

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