Dark of the Night (1986)

aka Mr. Wrong
Article 4524 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 5-4-2014
Directed by Gaylene Preston
Featuring Heather Bolton, David Letch, Perry Piercy
Country: New Zealand
What it is: Haunted car thriller

A woman buys a used Jaguar to take on a trip. When she picks up a man and woman who were hitchhiking, the woman disappears from the back seat and the man claims not to have seen her. She discovers that the woman was a previous owner of the car, and that she was murdered in it. She comes to believe that the car is haunted.

I like the basic story the movie tells, and I like the decidedly non-Hollywood feel of this one; it’s one of those movies where the actors in the cast all look like ordinary people rather than Hollywood stars. However, one of the problems with the feature film form is that in order for them to be really salable, they need to be of at least a certain length, and there are certain stories that would work best with a much shorter running time. I’m afraid that’s the case here; despite the efforts made to keep this one interesting, a certain degree of dullness seeps in, especially during the middle section of the movie. The movie is sometimes compared to CHRISTINE, but the resemblance is pretty much on the surface; this one is playing a somewhat different game. The ending is, however, quite satisfying.

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