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Midlands Feature Review - Darkwave Edge of the Storm

By midlandsmovies, Sep 29 2016 01:41PM

DARKWAVE: Edge of the Storm (2016) Dir. Darren Scales

This new 25 minute short film from Lincolnshire filmmaker Darren Scales is an ambitious sci-fi tale of planet hopping, spaceships and mystical powers all tied together using local talent and cleverly adapted locales from the Midlands region.

Darkwave: Edge of the Storm is actually part of the same universe established by the director’s first sci-fi feature The Drift (link here to our review) and begins with a radio-style music introduction using a creepy version of "You Are My Sunshine". The popular country ditty echoes over flowing shots of a van as it makes its way across remote terrain on a rocky planet. The song conjures up images of both southern pioneers and an eerie not-quite-as it seems earth-like vibe which continues as a theme throughout.

The desolate Lincolnshire countryside makes for an effective strange planet and this music segues into a weekly emergency broadcast which reminds listeners that citizens should alert the authorities if they come across any “organic activity”. With rations, beacons and (well-designed) worn-in costumes, the film places the viewer directly into a bizarre post-apocalyptic atmosphere where many questions are raised but few are answered. Yet.

Following (and wishing) on a shooting star, parents Sarah (Nathalie Cox) and David (Robin Kirwan) travel with a child called Ben to a set of large communication dishes but fear being tracked. By whom and why we don’t yet know although I hoped for a bit more character background in place of scene setting in order to better identify their relationships to one another and the shadowy “Ministry”. Of which I’m still not sure is exactly as I interpreted it. That said though, the puzzling pieces slowly come together as the film progresses to fill in (some of) the gaps.

However, the first-rate cinematography and effects on a budget are indeed amazing with good CGI rendering and top notch colour grading to augment the well composed shots.

The effects at the communication dish location continue with a brilliantly horrific practical corpse covered in blood. The gore of this burnt skeleton, also holding a mysterious light crystal, worked as a great contrast to the previous digital work and again dropped in some enigmatic symbolism that was to pay off later.

The props and production design are also superb for a local film and shots using a head-torch served to remind me of the illumination of flashlights from similar sci-fi mysteries like The X-Files or Prometheus.

An underground bunker fight threw in some sci-‘fighting’ whilst great computer screen designs were utilised – especially in a longer conversation between Sarah and her off-world father.

Darkwave: Edge of the Storm really shows what local filmmakers can deliver – a high quality, special effects laden action thriller – when the project is focused on doing a few things very well. Aside from a small number of gripes – a slightly odd narrative order to character information – the film creates a well-realised sci-fi world to get lost in. Although I was never really sure who the mysterious “ministry” was or why they would be a threat, the high points ultimately outweighed this grievance.

The perplexing plot ended with a thrilling reveal however and a cliff-hanger ending helped ratchet up the intrigue after the landing of a ship called The Phoenix. Darkwave: Edge of the Storm is more than a fine film with good actors and impressive effects though, it’s a story that leaves the audience wanting more as it casts them adrift on a bleak planet with exciting secrets to uncover.


Midlands Movies Mike

More info at: www.darkwavepictures.co.uk

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