For a low budget independent film director Douglas A. Raine’s From a Place of Darkness (2008) is a pretty decent start for a veteran of such films as Men of Honor (2000), Holy Man (1998), The Postman (1997), and Broken Arrow (1996), where he was assistant director. From a Place of Darkness is a smaller film than those that delves into the slow descent of a documentary filmmaker researching a snuff film filmmaker .
Miles Kody (Travis Schuldt) is a documentary filmmaker whose latest subject is Vic (John Savage), a self-professed snuff movie filmmaker. As Miles delves deeper into Vic’s mode of operation he slowly discovers that the location from which Vic has made these alleged films is haunted by his victims. The more Miles discovers about Vic the deeper his obsession to know the truth and the more withdrawn he becomes to both family and friends.
Raine’s film is not perfect by any means but it is a slow burning character film that comes off as an indie film with something to say in the way of darkness and how it can eat into a person’s soul and make them do things that they wouldn’t normally do. Savage does a lamentable job with the material but at times he comes off as a caricature. This actually helps the film as sometimes it is does get bogged down by its own excesses.
The cast for the film is filled out with very capable actors such as Conor Duffy, Valery Ortiz, Natalie Zea and a special appearance by Bronson Pinchot (who chews the scenery about as much as Savage does). The film does pick up steam in the third act which is a bit odd considering how the first two thirds are. The film decides to bring the paranormal aspects to the forefront which may turn off a few people expecting a more cerebral film but it does allow the film to have some immediacy which was lacking in the rest of the film. Overall, the film is nothing spectacular but if you’re a John Savage fan then you’ll enjoy his performance as a snuff movie filmmaker.