Cudlitz has popped up in films and TV shows as a secondary character over the years, but thanks to his brilliant performances in the (now cancelled) TV show Southland, he finally gets his shot at the lead in a film.
Cudlitz plays Jim Tahana, an insignificant man with a dull job. Every year, his holiday consists of going to "grief tourist" locations in the lives of serial killers that he finds fascinating. Mass murderer Carl Marznap is his obsession this year, but this trip turns Tahna’s life on its head as he descends into a reality of sickening violence and sexual impulses.
Having never heard of grief tourism before, this movie meant that even from the start of the film it was a real eye opener for us. The film slowly draws you into a realm that no one really wants to go to, but as we are that far in there is no stopping it. Initially it’s the interest in the serial killer that keeps the film moving along yet as Tahna discovers more about the killer his life becomes more open and on view for all to see. Cudlitz could not be more perfect for this role, his ability to make you feel his pain even when he is doing unspeakable things is what shows a true actor at the top of his class.
The man’s weakness takes a long time to come to the surface, but once there the film becomes a nasty piece of work. So sickening that it makes you feel dirty and foul for wanting to see what this retch of a so called man will do next. Credit must go to the writers and director for making this film as tough and unrelenting as possible, there won’t be many people that have the stomach to sit through the last thirty minutes without looking away. Yet that’s what makes this film stand out above all the other psychological horror films, it just doesn’t care if you like it or not instead it’s going to show it and you can’t do a damn thing about it.
Dark Tourist is a modern day version of Taxi Driver, and continues in the same vein as last year’s remake of Maniac. It’s a psychological horror that has a constant sense of foreboding dread that never lets up until Tahna snaps, and then the film takes a dark, nasty turn that paralyses with you with fear. It’s been a long time since we have felt this beaten by a horror film.