Against The Dark (2009)

Directed By: Richard Crudo
Written By: Matthew Klickstein
Starring: Steven Seagal
  Tanoai Reed
  Keith David
Against The Dark

Steven Seagal versus the undead. That is what Against the Dark promises and delivers, but tragically in a lack-lustre, dull and utterly repetitive way.

Against the Dark is set in the near future, where an outbreak of vampirism has decimated most of the world for no particular reason. Seagal is Tao, senior member of some leather-clad vampire assassins who have been sent into an infected zone presumably looking for survivors. They inexplicably end up at the top of a hospital by entering the ground floor, and have to fight their way down and out before the impatient American army flattens them with bombs.

The storyline is so simple it’s brain-numbing. A group of six civilians have somehow ended up in a hospital and realized that maybe, just maybe, during a violent outbreak of a deadly virus that causes instant cannibalism, a hospital is not the ideal place to be. Giving no back-story to this generic group of people, they blunder around the inexplicably windowless and personality-less building, splitting up at every possible opportunity and accepting the help of Tao and friends with shrugs and general despondency. Against the Dark lacks such enthusiasm it’s very hard to keep interested, even for the hard-core fans of multi-talented environmentalist blues-player Seagal.

Although Seagal is probably the draw for many of the audience members, he is barely in it, and when he does grace the screen he is a humungous disappointment. As an assassin he is slow, lumbering, free from emotion and even has his voice dubbed, for no explainable reason. Seagal also spends the majority of the film walking really bloody slowly down corridors with his assassin friends, one of whom clearly exists to jump around and do the action our pensioner hero can’t do because A) he’s too old, and B) he’s too fat. Seagal attacks vampires by methodically sweeping a sword at them like a drunk man with a stick, killing them with literally no glee or abandon. It is sadly laughable when we see “slice of sword, close up of Seagal’s face” on repeat five times until it’s “dead guy on floor, Seagal looks pensive / bored”.

Against the Dark plays like a single level on a zombie computer game – the overused “escape the infected hospital” one – but fails to add anything new or exciting to it. You’re better off playing Left 4 Dead, Silent Hill or an old Resident Evil game if you want creepy undead scares in a medical establishment. Against the Dark provides no jumps, little originality and a truck-load of confusion. How did the survivors get into the hospital? Why was some random zombie-girl filing her teeth down at the beginning of the movie, and where did she go? Why is the army so specifically time-bound on the destruction of the hospital, and why do they only want to destroy this hospital when most of Earth’s population is infected? Why are Steven Seagal and Keith David even in this? Too many questions, no one cares enough to answer.

Against the Dark – it’s not a Seagal movie, it’s not a horror, it’s barely a film. Avoid.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

2 Comments on “Against The Dark”

  1. Louise M says:

    Great review. I watched this film (a Seagal vampire flick? Try and stop me!)

    I wish someone had tried to stop me :/

    Seagal just looks so tired. And heavy. And sad. And apathetic. He waves his sword around like a hungover parent halfheartedly trying to humour a child that wants to play fight. I can only assume they dubbed over his voice to hide the fact he whispered “Please kill me” between lines. Or perhaps everything he said just came out as an anguished sigh.

    That said though, I did think that Stephen Hagan had an interesting presence on screen as Ricky, and I have a hunch he has a good career ahead of him. A career that will, I suspect, end up editing this film from its CV…

  2. Arnie says:

    Despite all the negative comments, I still plan to watch this film. I have issues.

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