What to do with a body is the quintessential noir set-up. Hitchcock played it for gallows humor in The Trouble with Harry, but it’s a real genre-crosser, a moral and ethical conundrum that greases the wheels of any plot.
Enter Dark Cove, a BC-lensed micro-budget horror that powers out of the gate with just such a scenario.
Then it promptly backpedals, going back in time to see how the body disposal stuff all came about, before revving up to a stellar conclusion.
Five friends drive out to an oceanside campsite to commune with nature, that is to say, ingest as much beer, weed and mushrooms as the human liver can metabolize, or “metastasize” (sic) as the brains of the group puts it. These are the first items in the laundry list of provisions as they’re loading up their crossover.
There are two alphas, two cuties, and naturally, the resident horndog Joey. In this case, he sets a new low for horror movie innuendos, asking one of the women if she’d like some “fell*tio dessert” and explaining the particulars of an Eiffel Tower. (Just like the practice that originates out of the city of Cleveland…let’s just say you don’t wanna know.) If that wasn’t enough, his exhausting bawdy talk turns to, of all things, admitting to rubbing one out on a Greyhound bus. (Where’s Vincent Li when you need him? That’s a joke Canadians may or may not appreciate.)
Dark Cove features a backed up outhouse of pop culture effluent as well, from Oasis to Lil’ Wayne, Alanis, Keith Urban, Flea and Nirvana…all shoved into the first ten minutes…and also an overabundance of extraordinarily obvious soundtrack choices, one of which, a song that includes the refrain “we’re going to the ocean to see our friends…” What, was the ditty, “we’re going to drink beer in the woods” already taken?
We’ve talked about the importance of “place settings” in horror, setting the table for an audience to invest in the characters. It’s to the filmmaker’s credit that after failing this so miserably, the annoying personalities endurance test is redeemed by some choice action, setups and visuals. And all for $30,000.
The wasted campers bemoan their wasted lives, with nothing to show for their degrees except dead-end restaurant work and brain-dead banter.
The campers then cross paths with three Aussies who are firing off fireworks deep in the BC bush.
This is welcome relief from the double entendre doubling down, and this is where the film comes alive. There’s actually a quite touching scene when the two nationalities bond over what is a pretty darn catchy campfire song.
One of the Aussies, Dean, has drawn the eye of a post break-up Lacey. The two get hot and heavy back in her tent, but when he won’t take no for an answer, the Canadians rush in and beat him to a bloody pulp — he convulses, bubbles from the mouth and expires, leaving a lot of explaining and extemporaneous lying to do, both to the guys from Down Under, and to the forest ranger.
Because of inane innuendos that should’ve been dialed back by half, Dark Cove is not wholly commendable despite undeniable visual style and neat plotting.
*** (out of 5)
[For those interested in horror films featuring Australian surfers, see Caught Inside]