The Dark Tapes (2017) Review

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3.5/5 STARS
There have been many trends within the horror genre: teen slashers; zombie invasions; vampire bloodsuckers and the trend that's possibly enjoying its swan song - the found footage film.

We've seen it all right? 

Michael McQuown's The Dark Tapes hopes to breathe fresh air into the lull of quality found footage horror (The Gallows anybody?), and for the most part, achieves its objective.

The film features three tapes played between a wraparound story (the wraparound directed by Vincent J. Guastini).

The first tape The Hunters and the Hunted" begins as generic found footage101 but when the action really gets going, BAM!, a brilliant topsy turvy set of events will leave your mouth wide and your head nodding in approval. 

The acting here is the poorest of all of the tapes but if you look past the performances, this one really does well to flip the generic Paranormal Activity trope on its head.

Up next, Cam Girls centres on Caitlin, this one filmed through a laptop screen focusing on the her video conversations with friends and clients. A slow burner at first, this tape does well to unnerve and I found myself watching through my hands towards the end. 

This tape brings some good ol' horror sex appeal and great acting from Emilia Ares Zoryan.

Rounding out the trilogy is Amandas Revenge - the best of the three films by a mile, with strong acting all round. 

After a party gone wrong, the tape's title character begins to experience terrifying activity through the night and when attempts to best the villain(s) fail, she begins to train her new found strength into escaping their unwanted attentions. With a touching relationship between the two main characters, this tape left me wanting more - and could easily be expanded upon as a standalone film.

The three tapes are nestled into the wraparound tale, which is both confusing and fantastic. It evokes paranormal frights and a creature feature in one, managing to keep the frights coming thick and fast right until the end. 

McQuown has created a great anthology here and has done well to break away from the tide of low effort found footage frights (not the good kind) that we've seen of late.

If you're stuck for a friday night film, this one will do the trick.

The film is available in the USA on Google Play, Vudu, inDemand , Dish TV, Amazon, Vubiquity, Xbox, Playstation, Sling TV, and Vimeo. 

For outside the USA you can watch on and is coming soon on iTUNES, Google Play, Xbox and Playstation.