Director Paul Fox and writer Wil Zmak have done a fair bit of work for television. I'm sure that's good for them, television stopped being the "poor cousin of cinema" a long time ago and can provide a steady income and constant work schedule for those in showbusiness, but it's a shame for audiences because they've been deprived of more movies like The Dark Hours. It's not a film that redefines the horror genre, by any means, but it's a fairly smart and interesting twist on the home invasion film.
Kate Greenhouse plays Dr. Samantha Goodman, a woman who we first see being quite antagonistic to a violent offender being given an evaluation. She realises that it's time for her to take a break, especially as the tumour in her head is now large enough that time has become a precious commodity, and so heads off to the winter cottage to meet up with her husband, David (Gordon Currie). David has gone away for some quiet writing time, only taking Samantha's sister, Melody (Iris Graham), with him. Both David and Melody are surprised when Samantha joins them, but there's an even bigger surprise in store when two other people come to the cottage. Adrian (Dov Tiefenbach) and Harlan (Aidan Devine), one of Samantha's ex-patients, want to play some mind games.
It may follow a well-trodden path, but The Dark Hours keeps things interesting and slightly fresh throughout thanks to a consistent grey area in the realm of morality for all involved. When viewers first see Samantha she's not being a very nice person, even if she's not being nice to someone who isn't all that nice themselves. David doesn't seem like a very understanding, supportive husband, and his time due to be spent with Melody seems more than a little suspicious. Adrian and Harlan are, of course, obvious villains, but they have their own code of conduct that shows them to perhaps have good intentions, despite their bad methods of getting results.
Decent acting from Greenhouse, Currie, Graham, Tiefenbach and Devine (there are some others onscreen, but it's down to these five characters, for the most part) is supported by the unfussy direction from Fox, and the smart script by Zmak. Things may build up to a finale that proves to be far too predictable, but that doesn't detract from the many little pleasures along the way.
This is not a film that wants to shock people, it's not a film that wants to push the boundaries of the genre and it's not a film that feels the need to throw around bucketloads of blood and gore. It is, instead, a quietly effective work that proves to be quite thought-provoking and certainly deserves to be seen and appreciated by a wider audience.
The Dark Hours is showing at The Filmhouse today as part of the run up to the 20th Dead By Dawn so get your tickets here - http://www.filmhousecinema.com/showing/the-dark-hours/ - and enjoy it on the big screen.