Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Dark

The Dark, based on a novel by James Herbert is the latest British horror film to hit the cinema screens. John Fawcett takes on the director’s mantle for a second time following an impressive debut with cult indie hit Ginger Snaps. The film sees single mother Maria Bello and her grumpy teenage daughter descend upon estranged husband Sean Bean who has retreated to the Welsh moors. Tragedy soon strikes as the daughter Sarah plunges to a watery death. In mourning over the drowning of their daughter Bean and Bello are visited by Ebrill a young girl who claims she died 60 years ago ... and bares a startling resemblance to Sarah.

The first half of the film is littered with overused predictable scare tactics including slamming doors, creaking windows and that Japanese favourite, the long-haired pale dead girl. As the film progresses Fawcett attempts to add more depth to the plot by introducing some psychological twists and turns, but fails to ignite any genuine intrigue. One of the major flaws of the film is its striking resemblance to The Ring. Instead of horses committing suicide off cliffs, we have sheep. There is the mother investigating the past horrors of a town, the misguided parent who goes a bit mad and commits evil acts against their child and there’s the aforementioned long-haired pale dead girl. However instead of really exploring the fractured relationships of the family and how this links them to the past atrocities in the Welsh village and their impending fate, we get a mix of flashbacks, dream sequences and never-ending twists that leave the audience feeling confused, but definitely not aroused. The only small saving grace of the film are the beautifully shot images of the haunting and deadly cliffs and the conclusion which is surprisingly bleak and devastating. Still that can’t make up for an hour an a half of horror clichés!

I give this film 2 hysterical mothers out of 5.

[Review by LMcG. PA is on Easter vacation]



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