ONE DARK NIGHT - Golden Oldies Finally On DVD
ONE DARK NIGHT
For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017
EDITOR’S NOTE: Kino Lorber makes some offbeat choices for Blu-ray upgrades, and this is one of the oddest, a forgotten zombie thriller from the early 1980s with a pre-‘Big Chill’ Meg Tilly in the lead role. Here’s my Feb. 10, 1983, Deseret News review.
No, “One Dark Night” is not another “slasher” or “splatter” picture, but it is another teenagers-in-peril film about a “good” girl being locked up overnight as her peers play practical jokes on her. And, eventually, a real killer plays a few tricks of his own.
To its credit, “One Dark Night” has added something more than just a mad murderer on the prowl here. This time there is a somewhat interesting plot about a psychic who has died, but retains his deadly telekinetic powers, bringing to life the dead bodies that surround him in a mausoleum.
Meg Tilly, 'One Dark Night'
Meg Tilly, last seen as Matt Dillon’s girlfriend in Disney’s “Tex,” is the “nice” girl who wants to join an “in” high school clique, but first must spend the night in the mausoleum as an initiation.
Her “friends” play cruel practical jokes on her during the night, until the dead psychic takes over and gloppy, gooey dead bodies climb out of their coffins and smear gunk all over their victims. The victims, meanwhile, kick in the remains and tear off the fragile faces, revealing hideous death masks, but the dead keep on coming.
The main difference, in comparison to most horror films these days, is that the gore stops here. Though what I have described is gory, to be sure, the producers have chosen to refrain from graphic dining on living flesh or explicit dismemberments to get an R rating. “One Dark Night” is rated PG.
While an admirable step, sadly I must report that the film as a whole is only a slight cut above the majority of such pictures. It delivers a few good scares, but there is a long, weighty period of boredom in the film’s center that drags it down. It begins interestingly, with some imagination, and the climax, though it goes on too long and is redundant, has some punch. But that hour or so in the middle just sags and sags.
Fans of TV’s “Batman” will spot an older Adam West as the psychic’s son-in-law, and young Robin Evans fares well as the nasty leader of the group Tilly longs to belong to. Tilly has little to do but show anger and then scream for half the film … and the other performers are best left unmentioned.
The PG rating covers some violence and a brief nude scene (Evans changing her blouse, an obviously gratuitous moment), and though a few genuine jolts are offered, “One Dark Night” is strictly for horror buffs.