People always tell me that being a film reviewer must be a great job. It really is but, like every job, it has its up and downs. They ask me, “Well, what could be so hard about reviewing movies? I mean, you get to watch movies all the time!” Correction, folks. I have to watch movies all the time. It really is a sweet gig, but it’s not as simple as people seem to think. When people ask why it’s such a hard job, I now have an answer. After Dusk They Come.
After Dusk They Come is the kind of film that defies logic in every sense of the word. I’m struggling even coming up with a reason a film like this would be made. It honestly feels as if director Jorg Ihle was looking for a way to fund his trip to Costa Rica, so they spat out this script and went after a studio that would bite. Unfortunately, a studio actually did and now we’re left with this cinematic abortion of a movie. Then again, the pointlessness of this movie is the most innocuous of its many transgressions.
Let’s take a look at its characters, shall we? Our protagonist is Liz, played by Jewel Staite who fans may recognize as Kaylee “Shiny” Frye from the cult TV show Firefly. The exuberance and infectious warmth of Staite, that makes her other performances so memorable, is drained from Liz until the character is left flat and lifeless. Unfortunately, she suffers from the same faults of many horror heroines in modern scary movies. Whiny, self important, and all together unlikeable, the audience is forced to spend all 90 minutes of After Dusk They Come with Liz and hope for either death or the closing credits. The characterization of the others isn’t much better. There’s Liz’s boyfriend, Peter, who was cheating on her before, but thank God he isn’t now, because he just decided to propose. The movie doesn’t get in to why Liz would accept his proposal when she knows that he has been unfaithful before, but the engagement scene just seems like a cheap, manipulative trick to make us “sad” when Peter meets his end. Kellan Lutz does his best “acting” as the bad boy Jake. Unfortunately, the only bad thing about Lutz’s character is the choice of hairstyle. Then, just to add more victims to the mix, After Dusk They Come throws in spoiled, gold digger Lauren (Nikki Griffin) and her rotund husband Ira (Marc Bacher). It should come as no surprise that most of these folks don’t make it out alive but with such lazy and haphazard characterization, it’s hard to care one way or the other. Most of them don’t even warrant a character name. Seriously, I had to look up most of these names on IMDb because they’re just not worth remembering.
But lazy characterization has long been a staple of the genre. Usually, there’s a trade-off. We forgive mediocre storytelling and the use of bland character archetypes in exchange for some cheap thrills or, at the very least, bloodshed. After Dusk They Come only supplies us with a handful of victims and even worse, most of them die off screen. What that leaves us with is a poorly written, sub-par acted disaster of a horror movie that doesn’t even have the common decency to throw in a little bloodshed to satisfy the audience. Even B-horror movies know to amp up the gore if they don’t have much in the way of a story. Unfortunately, no one relayed that message to Ihle. Luckily for the writers of this piece of garbage, After Dusk They Come is already getting a remake (less than 2 years after it was made) in hopes that they can get it right this time. Unfortunately, I won’t be watching the second one to see how it stacks up. You know what they say, fool me once, shame on you, but fool me twice, shame on me. I certainly won’t be falling for that same trick again.
Even after reading the plot synopsis for a movie like After Dusk They Come, it’s clear that it’s going to be bad. When their main claim to fame is a secondary character from the Twilight franchise, that spells trouble. Still, nothing could have prepared me for just how bad this movie was. I don’t suggest you watch it for yourself to find out. Maybe just take my word for it on this one.
After Dusk They Come will be released on DVD on October 2, 2012. In addition to the terrible movie, the DVD also features behind-the-scenes featurette, photo gallery, and the trailer for the film.