Movie Review: “Broken Darkness” isn’t helped by the light

Yes, “Last Darkness” almost came out in 2017. Or was it 2018, 2019 or 2020?

And it used to be titled “Last Broken Darkness.” But let’s weigh in on it because I never tire of putting that broken record I love to dance to, “urgency,” on my hi-fi.

The apocalypse comes and goes in the first couple of scenes of this sci-fi boogeyman bomb. After that, there is no “ticking clock,” nothing in it to drive the narrative, nothing to inject caffeine into our cast of characters and quicken the pace of writer-director Christopher-Lee do Santos.

A comet leaves the end of civilization behind in its wake, a father (Sean Cameron Michael of TV’s “Black Sails”) is left alone within moments of him telling his teenaged son “I won’t let anything happen to you.”

The kid promptly gets shot.

And the survivors of this mass extinction event, tucked away in a vast underground power plant complex (nice South African location) that must somehow tie into a mine complex, which is where a lot of people fled when The End was Nigh, discover they must contend with Morlock cave dwellers straight out of H.G. Wells.

The movie opens with a great effect — meteors smoking through the night sky. It promises a certain paranoia and claustrophobia, which stuffing the characters underground in the (well lit, alas) dark never succeeds in delivering.

So an hour in, they come into the daylight, and everything gets slower and worse.

The more we see of the creatures, the less “special” this special effects seems.

The beasts are revealed too early, the “gotcha” moments are kind of botched. Even the can’t-miss “victim yanked-out-of-camera-frame” bit is blown by wrongheaded lighting and picking the wrong camera angle.

South African filmmaker dos Santos (2015’s “Bond of Blood”) hasn’t finished another project since. Go figure.

Anything I’m leaving out? Oh, there’s “a girl” because as Omar Shariff once lectured David Lean (re “Lawrence of Arabia”), “There HAS to be a GIRL.” Suraya Santos has that role, the young woman of pluck, mystery and inner resources.

There isn’t a lot to recommend this. Pity it wasn’t better, or at least good enough to warrant an earlier, more prestigious release. Heaven knows Sean Cameron Michael needed the career bounce coming out of “Black Sails.”

Rating: unrated, violence

Cast: Sean Cameron Michael, Suraya Santos, Brandon Auret

Credits: Scripted and directed by Christopher-Lee dos Santos. A Vertical release.

Running time: 1:58

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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