Eye For Film >> Movies >> The Rift: Dark Side Of The Moon (2016) Film Review
The Rift: Dark Side Of The Moon
Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode
Liz (Katarina Cas) has been on leave from her work as a secret agent, looking after her son whilst he died of cancer. Now her agency wants her back, teaming her up with grizzled veteran John (Ken Foree, who is 69 but actually looks too young for the role), former astronaut Dysart (Monte Markham) and Serbian secret agent Darko (Dragan Micanovic) to investigate a remote spot where a satellite has supposedly crashed. Needless to say, it's not a satellite they find, but something much stranger.
Breaking back into film after several years spent focusing on TV series, director Dejan Zecevic takes on some big ideas but presents them on a very small scale, most of the action being set in and around a ruined building in an overgrown field. The result is in many ways reminiscent of Seventies BBC science fiction, dragged roughly into the 21st Century by the use of cheesy CGI effects. Zombies also reflect the modern age, increasingly prolific as they have become in recent years, but here their behaviour is a little different and they fulfil a necessary role in the development of a bold religious theme that is the film's strongest suit.
Unfortunately, big themes will only get you so far if you don't keep track of the details. When our heroes find a spacesuit lying on a plinth in an underground room, they immediately assume that there's someone inside it and that he must somehow have returned from a space mission, rather than simply getting dressed up on Earth. They're right, of course, which makes this even sillier. There's also a problem with over-explanation, both in the dialogue and through the use of little references (e.g. having a character called Lazar) which somebody presumably thought were clever but which sit awkwardly in a film that feels self-conscious rather than playful.
Lazar (Denis Muric) is a child - cue instant protectiveness from Liz, who as an agent ought to know better, regardless of her personal sorrows. His strange behaviour leads us into a disease containment plot which draws out the tension between characters but squanders it too quickly. There's lots of rather mundane violence and gore thatdoesn't add anything to the film and is further undermined by poor lighting. Much of the latter half of the film is spent running around and shouting rather than doing anything meaningful, and although there is an effort to pack a proper punch at the end, by then many viewers will have stopped paying attention.
The Rift takes a bold idea and struggles to bring it to life. It needs a few formulaic scenes to facilitate its twist, but ends up relying too heavily on that formula and falling short of its potential as a result.Reviewed on: 23 Nov 2017