07th Dec2021

‘Dark Chronicles’ VOD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Katy Mahard, Jessica Morgan, Aeric Azana Jim Cirner, Joe Heck, Brittany Isabell, Adam Mendez Jr., Rudolph Alvarado | Written and Directed by Jessica Morgan, Dustin Rieffer, Christopher M. Carter

On a stormy night, a keeper of haunting stories recounts his four darkest tales… Yes, we’re in horror anthology territory once again folks, with Dark Chronicles – a film comprised of four stories from the web series of the same name, now debuting on DVD in an edited format.

The first story follows a priest, Ilya, and his ward who in the midst of a lengthy exorcism, of sorts. You see Lorelei, the “possessed”, does not feel like she is under the control of a demon – she believes she’s merely deathly ill. While her “priest” thinks everything she does is the work of the devil… Both of them fighting each other for control. Lorelei’s for her life, Ilya for her soul.

The second tale of terror sees three friends disrespect and provoke an ancient evil when they visit an antiques shop to enquire about some artefacts. Of course disrespecting objects in an antiques shop is always bad karma (even moreso if you’re a part of Friday the 13th: The Series) and our group of friends get their comeuppance when they’re stalked and killed in the same manner of the objects the antique shop owner told them about…

Our third short tells the story of a family in a post-apocalyptic-esque future, one straight out of the pages of a George Romero script, where humans are in the minority and the flesh-eating undead are roaming the earth. Unfortunately for our family, their safe house is not as safe as they thought and the infection seeps in the home, their life and their family [members]; leaving only one left alive to talk a long walk into a world as unforgiving as their now-infested safe house is.

Finally we have the story of two strangers who enter a bar with secrets, with only one who will ever leave the place alive. Reminding me very much of last years The Oak Room, this story of strangers in a bar, each with their own secrets and motivations – although this tale is a LOT more graphic in its horror; and its violence! It’s kind of an “alternate future” tale, one where our protagonist, Cole (Jim Cirner) is shown what will happens if he makes the wrong choice and takes the wrong path.

Made by the same team behind 2019’s One Night in October, Dark Chronicles continues the path set out in that film, with a handful of well-made stories that are, in this case, wrapped up in an “storyteller” format that feels less than the shorts within. In terms of performances, it’s a mixed bag – much like the stories themselves. Yet for a low-budget horror anthology, Dark Chronicles has a lot to offer. The four stories are kept to a decent length, never outstaying their welcome (in fact I think you could have expanded a couple and gave the characters and story a bit more depth) and they are all interesting enough to hold the audiences attention and keep you invested in the story and the overall film.

And whilst Dark Chronicles is not Creepshow levels of anthology horror, it is still one of the better low-budget horror anthologies of recent memory, crafting four memorable stories. It’s just a shame more investment wasn’t made into that wraparound – otherwise we could have had an all-time great here.

***½  3.5/5

Dark Chronicles is out now on digital now from Terror Films.


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