Best Movies of All Time + [NR]

DARK AND STORMY NIGHT

DARK AND STORMY NIGHT
Not Rated

Dark and Stormy Night is a 2009 comedy and mystery film produced by Bantam Street Productions, who also created films like The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra and Trail of the Talking Forehead. This film, however, takes place in 1930 inside the old Cavinder mansion on the night that the late Sinas Cavinder's will is to be read to his family and closest friends. A pair of reporters - 8 O'Clock Farraday (Daniel Roebuck) and Billy Tuesday (Jennifer Blaire) - have crashed the "party" in hopes of securing the story. As they stand by and wait with the family members, headed by the deceased's nephew Burling Famish Jr. (Brian Howe), the lawyer set to inform the family is murdered in the dark before he can recite the last will and testament. Thus sets off a mansion-wide search for the phantom that must have committed the crime, leading to more murders and more confusion among the house's guests.

Bantam Street definitely strikes again with Dark and Stormy Night, another goofy send-up of old-style films. This time, they're spoofing the old haunted house films a la 1959's House on Haunted Hill. In fact, if you throw in a little bit of the 1985 film Clue with that House on Haunted Hill, you'd probably get something like Dark and Stormy Night.

We've got a tightly-written screenplay that delivers laugh after side-splitting laugh. There were a couple points I was crying with laughter, in fact. Writer/director/actor Larry Blamire crafts a splendidly hilarious piece that keeps you glued to the screen. Although the final reveal of the culprits is a little predictable, the paths taken to reach that point are both enjoyable and nostalgic, giving a true sense of those movies it's lampooning so well.

However, none of that would be any good without the brilliant delivery given by the mostly-recurring Bantam crew. Let's start with our aforementioned reporters who work as our leads, if only because they spend the most time on screen (this truly is an ensemble piece). Roebuck and Blaire play each part to perfection, complementing each other extremely well with their '30s-style dialogue that sounds as cliché as you could possibly expect. They throw those old-timey insults at one another at a mile a minute, making a perfect pair as they lead the investigation into the happenings around the house. Brian Howe does his best Vincent Price impersonation throughout, giving the audience and his fellow cast such an sneer that simply exudes evil (but that's not a spoiler in any way or form). Andrew Parks's rambling stories and non-sensical one-liners fit seamlessly. And Dan Conroy, our hapless cabbie named Happy Codburn, stumbles around the house just looking for the thirty-five cents owed him from one of the mansion's patrons. Comedy spews forth from every actor, including Blamire himself who steals every scene he's in with his perfectly deadpan delivery. I could go on and on about all of the acting in this film, but I'd need a separate post for each character!

Now, Bantam Street Production's films are not for everyone. You have to go in knowing that you're going to watch a movie that's meant to be as bad as possible because that's how they wanted to make them (I think this goes more for films like The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, but it applies here as well). If you can't get around that, then maybe you should pass on Dark and Stormy Night. However, if you can find the brilliant comedy in a movie like this, then you're going to rolling with laughter. I know I was, and I know I will every time I watch Dark and Stormy Night.

Movie Review Summary:Grade: A
2 Thumbs Up
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Awards
2009: 6 nominations, 1 win