Darkness Bride


Okay before I start, I should confess that I walked into Darkness Bride late. The film had been running for about five minutes before I got there. It’s entirely possible that the first five minutes of Darkness Bride explained a lot of the film. But I doubt it.

I have no fucking idea what this film is about.

Even re-reading the Melbourne International Film Festival guide right now, I don’t actually recognise the description given to Darkness Bride.

Now, I understand the events that occur in this film (at least most of them) – people go places, get jealous, look for their missing friend… But I don’t understand why all this is happening. I really don’t. There’s a ménage à trois in there somewhere, as well as some of the poorer parts of China’s seething underbelly (the country, not the wrestler).


Seriously. All is going along fine in a reasonably incoherent manner, when suddenly we are subjected to the image of a donkey that’s not just looking at the main characters, but looking at them suspiciously. I know it’s a suspicious look because the music cue at that moment seems to suggest this. Then to make matters worse, he makes a reappearance later on in the film!!!

The Chinese landscape presented here is incredible. At times it resembles some sort of post apocalyptic wasteland – I almost expected the Gunslinger to walk into frame (from Stephen King’s ‘To The Dark Tower’ series), or maybe even ‘He-Man’… it does seem to resemble Eternia in a vaguely disconcerting way.

Some of the cinematography is great in Darkness Bride, though much of the credit should go to the locations themselves – giant nuclear reactors belching out steam whilst children play in the foreground, cloaked figures making their way across a desert plain, leaving dust trails in their wake.

But it’s just so damn incoherent – not in a ‘weird for the sake of being weird’ Cremaster way, but just strange. I don’t even know why it’s called Darkness Bride. There was a wedding at the start, true… but… I…

I don’t understand!

This film truly belongs in the pantheon of WTF films – I can’t remember seeing a film I understood so little of in the last two years. I don’t know why anyone would want to see this film, much less why anyone would make it.

I was going to give Darkness Bride half a star for the cinematography… but the presence of the EVIL DONKEY negates this.

Rating: 0 stars
Review by Stuart Wilson, 22nd August 2004
Hoopla Factor: 0 stars

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