BITS 2015: The Dark Stranger

A depressed artist is tormented by a vengeful spirit in The Dark Stranger. Since the tragic death of her mother, Leah Garrison (Katie Findlay) has been suffering from severe depression and agoraphobia, with her father Brendan (Enrico Colantoni) encouraging Leah to start drawing again. One day, Leah mysteriously gains the inspiration to draw a graphic novel inspired by her life, which leads to her being haunted by a mysterious dark stranger (Stephen McHattie).

The Dark Stranger is a film that combines horror and fantasy to illustrate how a young woman’s depression is affecting her life. After blaming herself for her mother’s suicide, Leah refuses to leave her home and struggles to hold off her own suicidal thoughts. Her selfish brother Toby (Alex Ozerov) hates all the attention Leah is getting from their father, while Leah does find a form of companionship through her dad’s teaching assistant Mark (Mark O’Brien).

Probably one of the most impressive aspects of The Dark Stranger are various animated sequences, which tell the story of Leah’s graphic novel, which happens to parallel the events happening in her own life. The great Stephen McHattie plays the duo role of the Freddy Krueger-like Dark Stranger, as  well as a helpful art curator named Randall Toth. Altogether, The Dark Stranger is a simple, yet effective, fantastical horror story, with a memorable supernatural villain.

8 / 10 stars