A Sleepless Nightmare
Having just had their first child together Alex (Johnathon Schaech) and Penny (Pell James) leave the city for a new life in the country although city loving Alex is not too sure that country life or in fact parenthood is for him. And typically they find themselves suffering the usual sleepless nights of first time parents as their son keeps them awake but the daytime is worse as they discover that new houses are being built close by with the noisy construction making life hell. Soon exhaustion starts to hit as neither manage to get any rest and that leads to them starting to have a go at each other over every little thing. But in their sleep deprived state they find themselves with another issues as they both start seeing things and the question becomes is the house they moved in to haunted or is it their imagination?
Often when I am watching a movie and finding it becoming a chore early on I start looking to see what others thought of it; maybe it is some deep psychological need to seek validation of what I am thinking. It is what I did as I watched "Dark Circles" because as I watched I kept thinking that surely there must be more to this movie that another apparently haunted house. I won't tell you whether there is or not but I will say what happens during the movie and at the end basically disappointed me.
Okay so disappointed is a little unfair as the set up on "Dark Circles" which sees Alex and Penny fall in to a state of sleep exhaustion is good and the way writer/director Paul Soter pushes their situation of delirium to the max is powerful. In a scene where Penny talking to her baby says sorry as she can't even remember her name highlights the extreme exhaustion which they are suffering whilst becoming increasingly paranoid by what they see. And Solter also does an okay job of delivering some unsettling scenes especially one involving the baby, a nice and a waste disposal unit.
The trouble is that whilst both Pell James and Johnathon Schaech do a good job of delivering the effects of no sleep their characters are extremely hard to connect with even before they start to lose it. It is part of the reason why "Dark Circles" struggles because there is no real getting to know them and they end up more like puppets in this sleepless nightmare who end up becoming so sleep deprived that they take on aspects of a zombie.
What this all boils down to is that "Dark Circles" just failed to draw me in to the characters and their situation enough for the movie to work with the mystery of what is real and what isn't never grabbing me enough to question things. As for the ending to "Dark Circles" it didn't work for me as it was another part of the movie lacking real depth and an explanation, almost to the point of feeling rushed and an after thought.