The Drudgeon reviews The Dark Half

The Dark Half 122 min., 1993
Written by George A. Romero
Directed by George A. Romero
Language: English
My rating: ★★

A real let down.

* * *

Thad Beaumont is a child that likes to write, and he tries to whenever he can. One day while writing a story he starts to hear birds chirping, which also causes a headache. A few days later, it happens again and it’s so bad he is taken to the hospital. While under the knife, they find that he had/has a twin that was absorbed into him. They take it out and Thad goes about his life as normal. Years later, Thad is now married (to Liz) and has two kids. He is also a writer and teacher at a college, teaching about writing. After a class, a man who says that he knows that Thad also writes under the name George Stark approaches him. You see, he writes under his name when he writes more upstanding novels, but he uses George when he writes about more rough topics, and this getting out may cause problems with readers. Thad decides to come out before the other guy and end it. Next thing we know people are dying and Thad’s fingerprints are at the scene. Is it him, or is someone trying to frame him? Oh shit!

The acting (overall) is really good, starting with Timothy Hutton. He plays Thad extremely well, but he seems to really struggle at times with George. The only one that really does poorly is Amy Madigan (Liz); she just tends to overreact to anything and everything that happens. But there are times when she does great work, like the scene where the babies crying frustrates her. Again Michael Rooker plays his part perfectly, a friend but also a cop and trying to balance both, and all of his acting subtlety is there.

The effects actually seem to be too much in this movie. The gore just seems to be almost cartoony, and it really hurts. A cut across the neck turns into a bloodline that’s almost a mile long. I love gore and insane amounts of blood, but this movie seems to call for less than what they give. It would have worked better in a slasher movie. The effects themselves are actually really good, looking good and not campy.

The real problem with the movie is the pacing, a whole lot of nothing and then a little something, then more nothing. I’m not looking for blood and guts every five minutes or plot twists at every turn, but a little something more would have been nice. There were times where I was checking the clock to see how much time was left, counting down to the final reel where stuff would actually happen. Building tension is important in almost any good horror movie, and I don’t mind tension building, but there is not a lot of tension to be found, except the end where the tension is built for too long. When you do it for 10 minutes, you start to just want something to happen, hell anything to happen.

I had very fond memories of The Dark Half and was excited to see how it’s aged. It’s aged quite well, but I’ve also grown in what I look for in a horror movie. It’s not the worst movie I’ve ever seen, but at certain points it left me wanting more, while at other times I just wanted it to stop. Would I suggest it to people? Yes I would, but I would also forewarn them about how slow it is.

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About The Drudgeon

I don't remember my real name or where I came from. All I know is that I'm traped in an underground cave with nothing but a TV, DVD player and a notebook and pen. They keep calling me The Drudgeon, I don't even know what that means. Someone keeps dropping horror movies in and yelling at me to watch them and write about what I watch. Then I eat the DVD and case, because they tell me if I consume the horror I will understand the horror. I think there are three of them. So if you are reading this right now, HELP ME!!!!!!! OUCH!!!! Someone just poked me with a sea urchin attacked to a pool cue, what the fuck is going on?
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2 Responses to The Drudgeon reviews The Dark Half

  1. Lackey says:

    One day while writing a story he starts to hear birds chirping, which also causes a headache.

    The headache isn’t caused by the writing or the chirping; it’s caused by the growth of abnormal tissue in Thad’s brain. (In fact, the chirping is a symptom of the tissue growth as well.)

  2. John Bruni says:

    As I understand it, Timothy Hutton was kind of a jerk behind the scenes. He wanted two separate trailers, one for Thad Beaumont days and the other for George Stark days. He wanted to stay in character at all times, and every time someone addressed him as Timothy Hutton, the actor, he got pissed off. Yeah, he’s one of those guys.

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