STUDIO: First Look Media
MSRP: $24.99

The Pitch

“It’s The Hidden in England!”

The Humans

Luke Goss (Blade II, Silver Hawk), Kevin Howarth (The Last Horror Movie, Razor Blade Smile)

The Nutshell

Maverick Brit cop John Dark (Goss) gets promoted and paired with a more experienced detective who also has a highly unlikely name, well-dressed inspector Mort Shade (Howarth). While investigating a human slavery organization, Shade is seemingly killed, but it turns out he’s just infected by some sort of mysterious parasite (which is never actually explained). He quickly returns to work, but his methods become more violent than usual. He also develops a gruesome clawed hand with a ravenous tentacle that snakes from its palm, but his partner overlooks that little fact since they seem to be getting better results on their case load. Shade’s thirst for liquefied innards eventually gets the best of him, and Dark himself must deal with his renegade mate.

The Rear Admiral learned the hard way why his new recruit was nicknamed "Joystick James".

The Lowdown

Aside from the hokey naming conventions, the title also accurately describes the look of the film’s desaturated color, chilly blue hues and inky pits of shadow. But although the movie’s technical aspects and brooding tone are right on the money, the relatively simple premise becomes a needlessly convoluted story, a sloppy jumble of bewildering plot points that include a recently orphaned boy, an internal investigation, a gorgeous female special agent, a doughy X-Files-esque doctor (Matt Lucas of the often hilarious UK sketch-com Little Britain) who considers the rogue creature his “Grail”, and a conclusion as nonsensical as it is unsatisfying. Which is all a shame, considering the performances are rather good — Goss has the right physicality for a cocky cop (who nonetheless occasionally gets his ass handed to him), Howarth exhibits the same unnerving sinister mannerisms he displayed in The Last Horror Movie, and everyone else is believably terrified (also noteworthy is veteran David Gant as a police commissioner who is apparently quite loony).

"Send… more… pastry!"

Whether due to budgetary limitations or aesthetic choice, director Andrew Goth employs a “less is more” approach to the grisly proceedings (although the aftermath of the murders is certainly not without a share of viscera) and shows an unquestionable aptitude for delivering proper horror genre atmosphere. This is good news for fans of westerns, zombies and Chow Yun-Fat – Goth’s next film, The Wretched, stars Chow as an Old West gunslinger who hunts the undead. No doubt it’ll look pretty great, but I just hope it makes for a more cogent, gratifying overall experience than Cold & Dark.

5.8 out of 10