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Dark Romance (2013)

Tim Cooper (Timothy J. Cox) is a hard worker. He’s dedicated to his work and he is well liked around the office. One day, however, Tim receives a letter from a secret admirer. The letters and gifts continue until a Dark Romance ensues and Tim finds himself at the center of something twisted. What is the goal of the admirer, and is Tim’s life in danger?

I don’t think that anyone would argue that the cinematic quality of Dark Romance isn’t exactly great. The camerawork is a bit shaky, the quality is somewhat blurry, and there are moments when it feels like camera man Matthew Mahler fails to capture the true essence of the scene. There are times when the failed cinematography is actually dizzying, failing to entertain viewers and causing aspects of the short film to lose meaning.

At the root of Dark Romance is a classic tale of love. One individual is deeply infatuated with another, but whether that love is reciprocated is yet to be seen. As the love of one continues to grow things become difficult and both parties are unsure of what the correct way to respond to one another is. In the case of the classic romantic comedy, viewers may see a series of faux pas, a laugh every now and again, and an element of cheesiness that lies just beneath the surface of the story. Dark Romance twists and contorts that classic love story into something from more demented, as viewers this time are given somethng darker, grittier, and more aggressive than they may be used to. The twist is both welcomed and terrifying.

The narrative, which desperately needs to present its viewers with some level of mystery, is all too predictable. From the opening moments the direction that Dark Romance was headed was clear to viewers, and takes something away from the story. While the end contains a twist that most likely didn’t expect, the first six minutes (out of a total of eight) played out just as I had expected.

Dark Romance forces viewers to evaluate the world in which we live, and examine the people that we let into our lives. Who can you trust, and who’s untrustworthy? That’s what we learn about throughout the course of Dark Romance, and it’s a valuable lesson. However, the fact that we know what’s coming--for the most part--makes it difficult to appreciate the lesson to the extent that writers Matthew and Ross Mahler had hoped. There is a level of entertainment present in Dark Romance, but the predictability of the film leads to some disappointment that ultimately causes viewers to struggle to a degree with their reception of the film. I believe that Dark Romance has a lot to offer in terms of deeper meaning and metaphor, but as I watched the film, and accurately anticipated what was coming next, the narrative and the message presented by the Mahlers is slightly diluted, causing the film to fall far from its expectations. That twisted narrative of love still remains relevant and entertaining, creating a balance in an otherwise rocky tale.

Directed by Matthew Mahler.

Written by Matthew Mahler & Ross Mahler.

Starring Timothy J. Cox, Cameron Rankin, Tiffany Browne-Tavarez, Brian Shields, & Ross Mahler.




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