Shriekfest 2008 Official Selection: Dark Reel from Director Josh Eisenstadt.
Dark Reel is a horror film based loosely on the real life murder of B-Actress Scarlett May (Alexandra Holden) in 1958. The film begins with her grisly murder by a “studio producer” that lures her to the secluded empty sound stage of her demise.
Fast forward 53 years to meet Adam Waltz (Edward Furlong). He is a lonely, classic B-Movie buff who is nursing a broken heart when his girlfriend has moved back to the East coast, effectively dumping without a second thought.
Fate would smile on Adam however, making him the winner of a contest being thrown by Spotlight National Films, his favorite B-Movie production company. CEO Connor Pritchett (Lance Henriksen) “randomly” selects Adam for a walk-in part in the latest movie, Pirate Wench, where Adam meets horror golden girl, Cassie Blue (Tiffany Shepis). There’s tension on the set between the two other scream divas, Tara Leslie (Mercedes McNab) and Lorraine Wilson (Kate Orsini). The director Derek Deeds (Jeffrey Vincent Parise) has it out for Adam from the very beginning, probably because of how easily he seems to have won Cassie’s affections. The film is shooting on a insanely shoestring budget and the paparazzi-hating leading man, Rhett Johnson (Jake Grace) is obsessed with red raw onion; which makes working with him less than fun. Oh, and someone starts hacking up the starlets.
Dark Reel is a simply story about a loser who finds love, wrapped inside a ghost story. There’s not gore than horror and more scenes that play more humorous than I bet the filmmaker had intended. It’s not a bad film, just really predictable. The performances pass, but lack inspiration. Edward Furlong showed a shocking lack of charisma and the story throws logic out the window a few times. I found the mythology upon which the film was based to be far more interesting than the actually film. The film has a few good scares, and more than a few inappropriate laughs.