WHEN A BAND'S LEAD SINGER MYSTERIOUSLY DISAPPEARS, A NATIONWIDE TALENT SEARCH IS HELD TO REPLACE HIM. STACY IS DEVOTED TO HER BOYFRIEND SHAWN, A TALENTED YOUNG MUSICIAN WAITING FOR HIS BIG BREAK. AS THE COMPETITION HEATS U... more »P, STACY AND SHAWN GET TRAPPED IN A DEADLY RING OF DECEPTION AND SOON DISCOVER FAME HAS A PRICE« less
"I've heard much about David DeCoteau's campy horror flicks over the years but this is the first one I've actually seen. Three stars might seem generous but I'm rating it for what it is, not comparing it to "Citizen Kane" here.
Where to begin...if you enjoy looking at hunky young guys, I recommend you suspend your disbelief, check your brains at the door and enjoy yourself. The storyline cashes in on the waning popularity of boy bands and the booming business of reality TV - A singing group, comprised of four male zombie hotties, is forced to kill their fifth (and sole human) member, the lead singer, a Justin Timberlake type, when he threatens to go public with their secret. Once they've dispatched him, the search is on for his replacement. Adrienne Barbeau, phoning it in as the group's manager, hosts the three finalists during their "audition" show down, American Idol/Survivor-style, at a remote island retreat.
The film looks like it was made with a fairly sizeable budget compared to a lot of C-grade horror flicks; it's well shot & stars Barbeau as well as real-life American Idol finalist Ryan Starr (who turns in a forgettable, wooden performance). Even still, there are many odd, inexplicable elements - such as all the singers voices sounding EXACTLY like the original recording of the band's big hit during their open auditions (because the filmmakers were too cheap to re-record the vocal track for each actor so they all merely lip-synch to the same vocal track). And one of the band members, who eerily resembles Eminem, being a racist who refers to the lone black finalist as an "African American." How many racists do you know who refer to blacks as African Americans? A little too obviously PC.
But other than a few glitches, this movie is a real hoot. DeCoteau is famous for slipping double entendres into supposedly mainstream films as a wink to his (...) audience and "Ring of Darkness" is no exception. This actually makes the film more entertaining than if it was overtly (...). A secret blood ritual in the middle of the night performed by four hard bodies wearing nothing but tight black briefs? A bedroom scene featuring a bodacious Swedish groupie promising to "share" one of the hot male finalists with the other four group members? Hints of a sapphic liaison between Adrienne and Ryan? Horror has never been more outrageously kinky than this.
Last but not least, a surprisingly affecting performance by Stephen Martine, the male lead, is merely icing on this sickeningly sweet cake. If you're looking for a night of mindless good fun, definitely check this one out."
Robert P. Beveridge | Cleveland, OH | 09/12/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Ring of Darkness (David DeCoteau, 2004)
Former porn director David DeCoteau, whose most notable mainstream flicks have been the Puppet Master franchise (he directed 3, 4, and 5, the last two under assumed names), takes an absolutely brilliant idea and makes an incredibly stupid movie out of it. Now, to be somewhat fair, not only is it a made-for-TV shlockfest, but one that certainly didn't have the budget of a Danielle Steel miniseries (IMDB estimates the film's budget at three-quarters of a million dollars). Still, it would be hard for this movie to be worse than it actually turned out; about the only thing that saves it is its premise and the fact that DeCoteau took nothing seriously.
We open with Gordo (Club Dread's Greg Cipes) fleeing from a mansion. Just as he gets to the beach and seems as if he's going to get away, he's cornered by four dark shapes. Cut to an announcement that boy band Take Ten are auditioning for a new lead singer. (I'm sure you can draw the proper conclusion.) After a round of auditions, during which you're liable to get as sick of the catchy little tune they play just as much as you did any nineties boy band hit, the four remaining members of the band choose three possible replacements for Gordo-- Shawn (Guiding Light actor Coltin Scott), Jonah (DeCoteau staple Jeff Peterson), and Xavier (Baywatch's Jeremy Jackson), who are all flown, with Xavier's girlfriend Stacy (American Idol finalist Ryan Starr, whom you will be pleased to know does not sing at any point in the film), to the band's island mansion. Which, of course, looks very familiar. As the three continue the auditions in a slightly more stressful situation, weird things start happening...
With all the young-and-beautiful male skin on display, you're likely to think you're watching a Victor Salva flick. However, comparisons with the superior Salva end there; DeCoteau directs as if Ring of Darkness (the title, by the way, has absolutely nothing to do with the movie itself) were his first film, not his fifty-second. I haven't seen this much obvious shot repetition in a movie since Night of the Lepus. The acting is atrocious, as one would expect from folks who cut their teeth in T&A-fests (the two notable exceptions to this are Adrienne Barbeau, who plays the band's manager, and Coltin Scott), the script is bad even for a horror-flick parody, and the whole thing is just on the right side of unwatchable to keep you glued to the screen.
Or maybe you just want to watch a boy band get theirs. I know that was my motivation. *"
Rent the film for a laugh at boy bands, not to be scared
Madelyn Pryor | Mesa, AZ United States | 05/09/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"PLOT: When the hottest boy band in the country is looking for a new lead singer, a national contest is held. One of the top three picks, Shawn, is a rebellious rock star who hates boy bands and is only in the completion because his girlfriend, Stacy (Ryan Starr from American Idol) pushes him into it. Stacy, Shawn, and the other two finalists are taken to the bands remote island where they are tested to see who will win. However, it becomes apparent that not all is as it seems to be and this boy band has a dark side.
UPS and DOWNS: The ups are that this movie is hilarious. The idea of boy bands being sinister is nothing new, just get one of Backstreet's songs stuck in your head and you'll be thinking they must report directly to Satan. Another up is that most of the actors seem to have been chosen on looks alone, so they're easy to look at. The downs are that because they were chosen based just on looks, the acting is terrible. The best actor/actress in the movie is Adrienne Barbeau, the rest are terrible. The `plot' has more holes than Swiss cheese.
Over all, if you're looking for a good laugh, especially if pop music ISN'T your thing, this is a fun movie. "
Gregory Holmes | 04/07/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"David DeCouteau has a devoted cult following and this film is an excellent example of his work. I believe this film started out as one of the BROTHERHOOD series but for some reason has been released without that affiliation. It certainly follows the winning BROTHERHOOD formula (except there is no lightening in this film - come to think of it, there has been none of his trademark lightening effects in any of his films since LEECHES). At any rate, RING OF DARKNESS has a great cast, headed by Adrienne Barbeau. Jeff Peterson (from DeCouteaus's ANCIENT EVIL and PRISON OF THE DEAD) turns up as Jonah, first victim of the evil boy band Take10. Josh Hammond (from BROTHERHOOD) also puts in an appearance as a not so talented boy band wannabe. Also watch for cameos from Mink Stole. The only disapointment in the film comes from Ryan Star who mumbles her lines and has surprisingly little screen presence. The film has all the visual flare that fans have come to expect from a DeCouteau film, beautiful cinematography, locations shots, fast editing and beautiful people. I am always amazed at what he is able to accomplish on such tight budgets. This is perhaps his best work since THE FRIGHTENING. I really enjoyed it for what it is - a fun, low-budjet, goofy little horror film."
Well, at least there was man candy. But...
Feral Sirensong | Hallowell, ME USA | 08/27/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"You have to listen to boy band music for almost the entire movie! Frankly, I can't imagine anything more horrifying. It made me flashback to my much younger sister's infatuation with New Kids on the Block.
I'll need my teddy bear to get to sleep tonight.
I've seen a couple of other DeCoteau films (Witches of the Caribbean and The Sisterhood) and both were much better than this."