Cinema/TV, Film Notes

FrightFest review – Dark Sense

My notes on Dark Sense

This low-budget Scots psychic thriller feels a lot like a TV pilot, setting up much more than it pays off.  Screenwriters Geoff Dupuy-Holder and Alistair Rutherford adapt Peter A. Flanery’s novel First and Only, which director Magnus Wake also drew on for a short film – Simon, First and Only – that gets incorporated into a prologue.  Young Simon Eildon (Corin Edgar Robert) has premonitions, but can’t save a priest (Ian Hanmore) from masked, hoodie-wearing serial killer Mal (James Robinson), who seems also to be psychic and targets those with abilities or inclinations he considers blasphemous.  Grown-up Simon (Shane O’Meara) foresees that Mal is now coming for him, and sets about trying to save his own life using his erratic powers.  He recruits troubled ex-SAS hardman Steve Brennus (Jim Sturgeon) as his bodyguard and demonstrates unnatural insight to get intelligence agent Sonia Chatham (Margaret Bain) to throw some of the resources of her department his way.

Possible ongoing plots about Simon’s complicated family ties (which take in several other characters) and the spymasters’ conflicting urges to enslave or assassinate the psychic prodigy take a backseat to the A story about the pretty standard approaching killer, and various omens and visions have to be paid off en route to the final confrontation.  O’Meara has an unearthly look, and there’s an interesting switch of focus from him as protagonist after the first act – as Simon becomes more manipulative and it’s down to other characters to work out what his real agenda is, with Steve and Sonia torn between genuinely wanting to save him from the undercharacterised menace and feeling uncomfortable at his high-handedness, which extends to using real psychic mind control abilities to fake telekinesis in a laboratory setting in order to win a big money prize.


Here’s a trailer.

Here’s the FrightFest listing.






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