Sleep deprived parents and disturbing visions. Not unusual.


You know I absolutely hate it when babies are functional “props” in a horror movie. More so, I am absolutely tired of horror films beginning with the premise “a new unsuspecting family moves into a haunted house.” Enough already. Well, at least that’s what I was thinking before checking out writer/director Paul Soter‘s Dark Circles. In a solid horror genre debut, Soter’s have one thing going for him in this debut horror release–it’s damn creepy. 

The story revolves around Alex (Johnathon Schaech) and his expectant wife Penny (Pell James). Unbeknownst to them both, a creepy, dark-haired woman, will pay them a visit and visits often. When the couple’s son is born–the husband is late attending the arrival of his son. Of course, there is an occurrence of a freaky baby monitor incidents, however, are executed brilliantly. Understandably, the couple relationship suffers due to the “bloody woman” sightings. It isn’t any wonder the already sleep deprived parents contemplate whether or not their bloody, dark haired woman sightings were the result of a lack of sleep–or that their home is righteously haunted. As Penny and Alex struggle with reality, hallucinations and eventual delirium. I was actually surprised that the film remained unsettling and outright awesome. I’m being careful not to give away too much of the film.

The film successfully blended the supernatural experience with familiar reality of new parents and sleep deprivation. You are audience to a variety of visions and “sightings” from the protagonists perspectives. In addition to being subjected to magnified “shock” points in the film that are not specifically “surprising,” however, are well worth watching from a technical viewpoint. The cinematics are well constructed, and the films’ music score is pairs brilliantly with the overall perspective of the film.

Overall, Dark Circles is a familiar horror that’s well worth checking out. The acting performances are compelling, and you can tell that writer/director Paul Soter really understands the genre. The director was sure to develop his main protagonists character importance in the film.

However, I am still disappointed that a baby had to be involved in all this. Poor kid.


Dark Circles DVD special features include audio commentary from writer/director Paul Soter. The film stars Pell James (The Lincoln Lawyer, Fan Boys), Jonathon Schaech (Quarantine, That Thing You Do), Jennifer Foreman and Philippe Brennikmeyer (Super Troopers). Rated “R” for violence and bloody images. Subtitles in English and Spanish. Run time 86 minutes. Format 16×9 Widescreen (2.40:1). DVD audio 5.1 Dolby Digital. 

Artwork and supplementary materials courtesy of © 2013 Lionsgate Home Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Dark Circles
  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 3 stars
  • Good

  • Dark Circles
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  • Last modified: 2016-08-31

Review Summary:

An unsuspecting family moves into a haunted house that tests their relationship.

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