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Monday, April 23, 2018

The Rift: The Dark Side of the Moon (2016)

There are sometimes where I sit down to watch a movie wanting so much to enjoy it. I can tell where that happens because my notes always are hopeful and pointing out little things that I liked. I’m almost trying to convince myself that it is fun when clearly something was missing. Sadly, that is probably how my review of The Rift is going to end up.

Our characters are assembled and sent to recover a downed satellite that crashed somewhere in Serbia. When they arrive, they run into a creepy kid, get shot at, and find an astronaut in the basement of a farmhouse! It becomes clear that there wasn’t a satellite at all, but something else. The tracker that they were given to locate the downed hardware points them directly to the immobile astronaut, so someone knew something. Some more weird stuff happens. We find out that the elderly scientist who is with the team knows more about the situation than he initially lets on. There is some time travel, interdimensional portals (or Rifts…), dead people not staying dead, and of course someone goes crazy.

I so wanted to like this movie. I made a list of the stuff that I thought it did well. There are several creepy moments and at least one great jump scare. The performances from Ken Foree and Monte Markham are wonderful. I’m used to Foree being reduced to glorified cameos, but with The Rift he has a real part and is able to create a character. Plus, he gets to go crazy and chews the scenery up in a sinister way. Markham is a veteran actor that I guarantee you will recognize and he brings all that experience to his character. Both actors are a joy to watch and are the highlights of The Rift. While the movie is light on the gore we do get a disturbing tattoo removal that stuck with me after the end credits.

At times the music is perfect and at other times intrusive. All of it fits into the “knockoff” almost sounds exactly like someone else. When it is good there is a seventies “Pink Floyd” vibe that totally fits with the story. Plus, I mean Dark Side of the Moon… We also get scenes that have that annoyingly crappy pop music that gets turned up so loud you can’t hear what is going on. But the worst is when they are creeping around the house and the soundtrack starts to crank up and ruins the mood. Sometimes less is more and those scenes needed much less. Totally spoils what could have been a rather spooky sequence.

Ken Foree is the best part of the movie!
What really kills the movie for me is the story. It jumps all over the damn place and can never seem to decide what it wants to be. Somehow a rift took an astronaut on a secret mission from the dark side of the moon to a Serbian farm more than forty years in the future! And for some reason he isn’t human anymore but can bring back the dead and wants to kill people. Only then he doesn’t because he allows another character to go back in time to save her son… Which means that none of this happened. But then in the past the astronaut starts riots and the dead start to rise. But all of this takes place before the astronaut ever arrived from the moon. There is clever and then there is muddled mess that makes no sense. I’m leaning towards the latter.

It makes me sad, but I can’t recommend The Rift: The Dark Side of the Moon in spite of a great performance from Ken Foree. They had some good stuff here, but the plot is a mess and destroys any chance of enjoyment.

© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer

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