REVIEW: Shot in the Dark a.k.a. Moon Lane (2021)

dir. Keene McRae

That sound you can hear is the audience catching their breath after an hour and a half in the company of this taut, chilling, purposefully unpleasant watch. Landing us in an American town gripped by fear and paranoia as a serial killer prowls the streets, Shot in the Dark focuses on a potential victim (an admirable turn from Kristoffer McMillan) who must revisit his past in order to survive a hellish night in company he’d really rather avoid.

There is a tense, unrelenting quality here that will make director McRae’s debut an endurance for some: it’s almost admirable how little fun there is to be had (even David Fincher’s Se7en managed an occasional joke). But McRae (who also co-writes and takes a starring role) remains focused on the darkness, even limiting the levity that comes from trips to memories of a happier past.

There is however beauty in the grimness, a gorgeous sheen provided by Vlad Akushevich’s startling cinematography that complements the ensemble’s ability to find the humanity in their characters, with a complexity to many of the performances.

The result is one can’t help but respect McRae’s film, but for many this will be a piece that viewers will only want to watch once, and for some a first-time visit to this world may even be too much, with Shot in the Dark carrying a wealth of trigger warnings. It’s remorseless, unyielding and will likely linger with you long after it finishes: the kind of watch that – for better or worse – requires a long shower afterwards, with a dirtiness that drills down into the marrow of your bones, and chills your very soul.


Russell Bailey

Shot In The Dark is now available on UK digital platforms, courtesy of Reel 2 Reel Films 

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