by Michelle Swope
Take Back the Night follows a woman named Jane Doe, who is an artist and is well known on social media. Jane has an arrest record and a history of substance abuse and mental health issues, just like her late mother, who was also an artist. These pieces of her background will come back to haunt her, much like they would for any woman. Emma Fitzpatrick (The Social Network, The Collection) gives an extraordinary performance as Jane, who is extremely relatable and cool, but also struggling.
One night, after attending a wild party, Jane is attacked while walking down a dark alley alone trying to get home. She doesn’t get a good look at her attacker, but it appears to be more of a dark presence than human. Bloody and disoriented, Jane ends up in a hospital emergency room, under bright lights, being questioned by a detective, played by Jennifer Lafleur, who thinks Jane’s story is suspicious. When the detective looks into Jane’s background, she finds her story about her attacker even more questionable.
Angela Gulner (Binge, Glow) plays Jane Doe’s sister, known only as The Sister, who wants to help Jane, but doesn’t approve of her lifestyle, despite the fact that she only appears to have her life together and struggles with some of the same issues as Jane.
While the detective is busy looking into Jane’s background instead of trying to find her attacker, Jane decides she has no choice but to seek out who or what is apparently still stalking her. When Jane finds several stories of similar attacks on women online, she realizes that not only does she have a credible, shared experience with other women, but that there might be a supernatural element to her brutal attack.
Take Back the Night becomes increasingly frenetic when Jane begins stalking her stalker and filming it to show her online followers. The cinematography illuminates Jane’s experience with expert lighting choices that alternate between dark, nighttime scenes of Jane being attacked and Jane in the hospital under intrusively, vivid lights being examined, both mentally and physically.
The virtual edition of the Salem Horror Fest runs October 22 - 31.