A common complaint with some movies is that they can be too dark for their own good. However, that’s not referring to their atmosphere or tone, but to the fact that these movies are literally so dark it’s hard to see what’s going on.
If it’s not the fault of an understandable but misguided creative choice, it’s the fault of questionable cinematography. While some films make good use of their endless darkness, others suffer greatly from it.
ten Pitch Black delivered on their title promise
At David Twohy’s pitch black, survivors of the downed Hunter-Gratzner spacecraft find themselves on a barren planet with seemingly endless night. The night hid the monsters that neither the survivors nor the public could see properly, and even Riddick’s night vision could only view things up to a point. That being said, that was the intention of the filmmakers.
As it was made at a time when CGI was still difficult, field black was at his best when he obscured his monsters with shadows. That wasn’t a bad thing, as it gave the movie a unique look that made up for its flaws. Pitch Black’s darkness was so good it was replicated on soft reboot Riddickalthough fans still consider the first film to be superior.
9 The Descent took its cast and audience into the darkness of the caves
As seen in his first film dog soldiers and game of thrones’ Battle of the Blackwater director Neil Marshall has a knack for maximizing darkness. That being said, Lowering is by far the best display of his skills at work, as he used the natural darkness of a labyrinthine cave system to deliver some of the scariest scenes ever seen in a horror movie.
Without their cameras, fire, and flashlights, Sarah’s party (and the audience) could barely see what lay ahead – let alone the cannibalistic inhabitants who chased them into the darkest recesses of the caves. Through this implacable darkness, Lowering cemented its legacy as one of the best and most terrifying horror films of the 2000s.
8 Godzilla: King of the Monsters Overshadowed the Kaiju
In some ways, Michael Dougherty Godzilla: King of the Monsters was a direct response to polarization Godzilla (2014). For one, the sequel addressed the previous film’s lack of monsters by giving Godzilla, King Ghidorah, Mothra, and Rodan tons of screen time. That said, the sequel still repeated some of the mistakes of the first film.
While the four main Titans were fully shown, they blended in too well with their poorly lit scenes. At best, they were sporadically lit by environmental hazards, like atomic blast or lightning. Poor visibility hampered the otherwise upgraded sequel, which could have been “awesome” instead of “good” if it was as clear as the next Godzilla vs. Kong.
seven Doom’s lighting was inspired by the less popular Doom game
Andrzej Bartkowiak’s live-action adaptation of the iconic Loss got a lot of things wrong, but one of its worst missteps was its terrible lighting. Not only were the Martian workers unreasonably dark, but most monsters were lurking in the shadows. This made it difficult to appreciate or even see the victims. All of this could in part be attributed to Doom 3.
Doom 3 was the series’ failed attempt to reboot the adrenaline shooter into creepy survival horror, and iD Software used its footage to launch a Loss film to financiers. Combine that with the producers wanting the demons to be replaced with mutants for religious reasons, and Doom’s poorly lit monster scenes make more sense.
6 Solo: The already dark cinematography of a Star Wars story was made worse by poor screening
Ron Howard’s Han Solo prequel had a lot going against it, but one of its most unexpected obstacles was accusations of terrible cinematography and lighting. According to the audience who watched Solo in cinemas, the film was too dark, dirty and ugly to understand. However, that wasn’t entirely the filmmakers’ fault.
Turns out most modern theaters have automated projectors, which means they haven’t calibrated their output to meet Solo specific lighting requirements. Although this may explain some of the Solo most of the scenes underlit, it still doesn’t explain cinematographer Bradford Young’s decision to go a little overboard in terms of dark, moody lighting.
5 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Too Literally Takes Hogwarts’ Darkest Hour
Starting with Goblet of Fire, the Harry Potter the films gradually became darker. This didn’t just take shape in Voldemort’s return, but also in the visuals. Each subsequent film had less color and brightness than the previous one, to the point where David Yates Deathly Hallows: Part 2 was so dark that the series finale was nearly impossible to watch.
Deathly Hallows: Part 2The worst lighted moment was the climactic nighttime clash of Death Eaters and wizards where the only things that could be seen were the magical lightning bolts of wizards. Even simple conversations in the halls of Hogwarts or in the Forbidden Forest were too dark to enjoy, which makes Harry and Dumbledore’s bright reunion in the afterlife all the more shocking.
4 Zack Snyder’s Justice League Was Too Dark In Visuals And Story
Zack Snyder’s directing style has become synonymous with overly dark and dark storytelling, but those adjectives apply to his visual preferences as well. For better or for worse, Snyder’s dark aesthetic was seen at its peak in his seminal DC Extended Universe (DCEU) films, especially in his uncut films. Justice League.
The Snyder Cut daytime scenes were devoid of color and life, and those set at night or in dark locations had virtually no visibility. At best, background explosions or superpowers in the League lightened and brightened things up slightly. To Snyder’s credit, its distinctly dark style fits the film better than the oversaturated scheme of the theatrical cut.
3 Godzilla (2014) Fans Angry By Having More Shadows Than Kaiju
Although it is miles above Roland Emmerich’s critically vilified interpretation, Gareth Edwards Godzilla disappointed viewers who wanted to see giant monsters on the big screen. When he wasn’t cutting the Titans or hiding them behind debris, Godzilla shrouded them in such darkness that even their silhouettes were barely visible.
Edwards did this to emphasize the Titans’ similarities to natural disasters while reverting to the 1954 original by Godzilla focus on collateral damage, but it was still frustrating to watch. Godzilla has always had limited screen time, but that was done for budgetary reasons and not because the movie felt embarrassed to be a monster movie.
2 The Batman Is Literally The Darkest Dark Knight Movie Ever
As for the Batman movies, Matt Reeves The Batman was hailed by fans as the darkest Batman film to date. However, that description doesn’t just apply to the reboot’s oppressive atmosphere or brutal aesthetic, but also to its visuals. On time, The Batman can get so dark it’s hard to see what’s going on.
The Batman is devoid of colors or lights, even during scenes that take place during the day. This darkness has worked whenever Batman emerges from the shadows as a nocturnal monster, but it becomes awkward during fights so poorly lit that they border on indecipherable or dark conversations for the wrong reasons.
1 Alien vs. Predator: Requiem is nearly impossible to watch
One of the worst things about Alien vs. Predator was its PG-13 rating, which was no match for a crossover film for two reputedly bloodthirsty aliens. The Strause Brothers Requiem seemed to take this review to heart as it was rated R. However, the promise of more gore was unnecessary as the murders were too dark to enjoy or see.
The most of Requiem took place at night, making the non-existent visibility even more difficult to bear. In fact, the sequel’s cinematography has been cited as one of the worst ever. Besides poor creative choices, it’s possible that a lack of lighting budget is to blame here.
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