One Dark Night (1983)

Warning: You will be bored by 70 percent of “One Dark Night.” Then, all hell breaks loose.

You will be forgiven for thinking the initial hour of this trapped-in-a-mausoleum horror flick would be more accurately titled “One Dull Movie.” But then, when was the last time you saw a horror film in which a bunch of teenagers spent the night inside a spooky sepulcher, woke up the next morning and said, “That was fun. We should do it again sometime. Meet you at the HoJo!”?

“One Dark Night” is an old-school-style horror film in that it thinks there is nothing more frightening than the sight of a graveyard, even in broad daylight. The tone is relentlessly grim, even in the more upbeat sequences in which three high-school girls, who treat their friendship like a sorority, contemplate tricking nice-girl Julie (Meg Tilly) into spending the night inside a creepy mausoleum. 

That’s where the hell-breaking-loose comes in. In a turn of events too complicated to go into, one of the tomb’s newest residents is a telekinetically-gifted dead guy with ominous powers capable of busting open tombs and launching oozy, maggot-dripping corpses at our heroes.

It is here where our patience with “One Dark Night” is finally rewarded, in a crowd-pleasing sequence that would best be viewed with a giant audience. It’s also here where we wonder what the hell members of the MPAA were thinking when they unconscionably awarded the gore-soaked “One Dark Night” a PG rating. The film is definitely not kid-friendly.

As for the rest of us who are capable of withstanding an hour of snoozy territory to get to the good stuff? “One Dark Night” does not disappoint.

Rated: PG, but the gory violence definitely betrays that 

Director: Thomas McLaughlin

Starring: Meg Tilly, David Mason Daniels

★★½ (out of ★★★★)

 

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Categories: 1980s

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