SHOT IN THE DARK ** USA 2021 Dir: Keene McRae. 84 mins
Two years ago, William Langston (Kristoffer McMillan) made a mistake that would affect the course of his life. Now, with a killer loose in his hometown and his circle of friends falling away one at a time, William faces his greatest fears as well as his own mortality in a quest to stop the killer from continuing his rampage.
This was a serviceable if problematic genre effort. “Shot in the Dark” has its best features with the serial killer angle which results in some brutal sequences of the killer torturing William or going about his business with a fine clinical precision that leaves these scenes incredibly fun. These scenes in his basement have a certifiable griminess that makes the brutality rather shocking which matches the intensity of the stalking scenes out in public which gives this one some of its best features. That this is also competently made and well produced shouldn’t be overlooked here as that quality helps elevate it but there are a few rather alarming issues present as well. The main factor here is that the overall structure is a melodramatic offering that plays like a romantic drama but one that happens to have a serial killer thrown into the mix. The idea is fine in concept but leaves a lot to be desired with the main point of the running time taken up with the relationship issues between William and Lili as well as between him and his friends that’s just rather confusing from what should be a straightforward tale. As the nonlinear style with the continual flashbacks and shifting focus on storylines here, that not only makes this confusing but it’s also difficult to care for anyone here who doesn’t have much going on for them in this relationship-heavy approach. As well, with scenes showing off the inherent lack of foresight and logic in the execution of the torture scenes giving away what’s going on was quite obvious is quite illogical to see play out for someone that smart, leaving this with the overall feeling that it’s a missed opportunity.
Review by Don Anelli
SHOT IN THE DARK is out now on UK Digital Platforms from Reel 2 Reel Films