The Dark Tapes [2017] is a found footage horror film written and directed by Vincent J. Guastini and Michael McQuown. There is no explanation of who found the tapes or what the tapes mean in the long term, it is clearly just a film device to cheaply film short stories and put them together into a feature film.

Structure: The structure of The Dark Tapes is an anthology story told in a fashion like the V/H/S series. There is one tape that is spliced between three other full tapes. I won’t spoil what the stories are because half the fun is waiting to see where the next story is going. However, just looking at the synopsis it is safe to say that it is all found footage and most of them are in the science fiction or paranormal realm.

Stories: The stories that are told are relatively interesting, however, I can see why some people don’t like them. Let’s face it, at least a couple of them are based on very popular horror movies. However, to the film makers credit, they always have a twist to the story. After I saw that in the first story, it made me interested in the rest of them no matter how disinterested I was at first. The main problem is that they aren’t very scary. I watched this film alone, at night, in a pitch-black room and had no trouble sleeping an hour later. I am a huge horror fan and I realize that fear is subjective just like comedy and any other art, however, I just didn’t see what could scare someone in this film.

Creature Design: Perhaps the strongest element of The Dark Tapes is the design of the creatures that we see throughout the tapes. They are surprising and used sparingly enough to be effective. Some were derivative of other monsters and beings from other films, but for the most part, I enjoyed this aspect of the film the most. I also want to mention that one of the tapes had some very impressive makeup and blood usage. This isn’t a gory film, but when it goes there, it goes all in.


A familiar structure tries to bring a fresh take on four horror tales.
Despite good creature design and useful effects, no true horror fan will fear The Dark Tapes.

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The Dark Tapes
2.5Overall Score
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