The Dark Stranger (2015)

Katie Findlay, Alex Ozerov, Enrico Colantoni, Stephen McHattie,
The Dark Stranger is a movie starring Katie Findlay, Alex Ozerov, and Enrico Colantoni. Haunted by a terrifying spirit out of her graphic novel, a young artist struggles to overcome her psychosis before it destroys her.
  • 4.4 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Writer:
  • Chris Trebilcock, Director:
  • Paula Devonshire, Glen Wood, Producer:


4 / 10

Not dark enough

'The Dark Stranger' drew me into seeing it, with a cool poster/cover, an intriguing and quite creative premise and as someone with a general appreciation for horror. That it was low-budget, which from frequent personal experience is rarely a good sign due to that there are so many poor ones out there, made me though apprehensive.

It is sadly however yet another film seen recently, hence some reiteration because the exact same strengths and flaws are here present in those films, that to me was quite disappointing considering its potential which it doesn't do enough with. 'The Dark Stranger' is not great, or good, has a fair share of problems (fairly big ones too) and doesn't do enough with its potential, which was hardly small. There are however a few decent, even good, qualities in 'The Dark Stranger'.

Lets start with the positives. The scenery is atmospheric, likewise with the decent way it's shot. The music is suitably spooky and quirky and doesn't distract at all from the atmosphere, while not exactly enhancing it.

A few unsettling moments and horror tropes and the acting is better than average.

However, the story does feel over-stretched and some of it feels vague, under-explained in the last third where the film especially became duller, more predictable, more senseless and less scary it got. Too many characters are too sketchy and with nowhere near enough to make one want to endear to them. Their irritating and illogical decision making and behaviours frustrates. Making the film feel bland and forgettable with not enough heart put into it. The effects are ropy at best.

Dialogue can be stilted and rambling while the pace is uneven, dragging in a lot of the second half and never is it exciting. Found too many the supposedly shocking moments not surprising or scary and the supposedly creepy atmosphere dreary, due to the excessive obviousness and the lack of tension and suspense. A lot of the film has underdeveloped plot elements and often nonsensical and confusing character motivations. There is very little threat here and what there is of it is used poorly, while the psychological elements are unimaginative and are more odd than scary. Some badly sagging momentum too. The direction is pretty leaden.

Overall, not a terrible film by any stretch but should have been darker and scarier. 4/10 Bethany Cox

4 / 10

not scary

Leah Garrison (Katie Findlay) is a graphic novel artist haunted by the death of her artist mother. She is disturbed by dark visions and The Dark Stranger. She lives with her father (Enrico Colantoni) and brother Toby. She is being treated by psychiatrist Dr. Anne Parsons (Jennifer Dale). Randall Toth (Stephen McHattie) is interested in her mother's art.

There are some good standard horror ideas. The indie horror directing is too weak. None of it is scary. It's mostly bright daylight and flat. There are some attempts at creepy but few are good. I like the pen but he fails to find its inherent horror.

6 / 10

Different. And better.

Lovely little movie right here, presenting a story rarely used, with a way better execution and quite good actors.

Stephen McHattie does it again, comes in and steals the show as a dark, mysterious man, just like he did in Haunter (2013). Teaming up with Enrico Colantoni, you can be sure to have at least a A- acting style. The plot itself is lovely to watch, if your eyes are set on the horror industry of course, and if you are able to appreciate smaller productions, do yourself a favor and find this one.

The visuals are beautiful, the story goes on at a good pace, the reveal is nice but the ending feels forced. Quick and easy, perhaps some more time was needed on the climax, but nevertheless I took the film for what it was, a nice change of direction, pace, and a different way to tell a horror story. I will definitely recommend this one.


5 / 10

Good movie that had potential of being way Better!

The positives- Storyline, acting (especial lead actress and McHattie who always does a fine job), blend of fantasy/animation with reality. Negatives- So much more could have been added to this movie, such as suspense, more back story, fantasy sequences could have been a bit more.. The brother just didn't fit. Whether it was his acting or the script he just didn't gel with the other characters especially the family. The ending left a little to be desired. A little more effort into this film on those areas and this may have had the potential to have a cult following. Overall it was entertaining and it wasn't a waste of time whatsoever. Just wanted more out of it.

3 / 10

Artists, suicides and hallucinations

This movie tells the tale of a highly troubled teen who suffers from chronic hallucinations. Whether those hallucinations are the product of her traumatic past or a curse is not really clear. Apart from the fact that the protagonist has a hard time distinguishing reality from fantasy she also seems to suffer from agoraphobia (which is the clinical term for someone who is afraid of the outside world).

What really irked me about the movie were the totally random "2D dream sequences/daydreams" which if I had to guess were supposed to add some sort of artistic element. Kind of a given choice considering how the movie is about an artist but not quite solid in it's execution. It ended up being really silly. After all this is supposed to be a Horror movie and not a children's playbook.

Furthermore, the antagonist of the movie (the dark stranger) is basically an old man who is blackfacing/grayfacing. I know, this is supposed to be a scary movie but when I first saw the "dark stranger" I laughed out loud. It just seemed way too bizarre.

To conclude: Was the movie scary? No, not really.