Film reviews

The Dark; Dir; John Fawcett, Cert; 15

Recently there have been some great entries in the British horror movie genre, including Dog Soldiers and The Descent (both directed by Neil Marshall), 28 Days Later (Danny Boyle) and Shaun of the Dead (Edgar Wright). I had hopes that The Dark, a British psychological horror movie starring Sean Bean and Maria Bello, could prove to be another great addition to the list, but unfortunately this isn't the case.

Adèle (Bello) and Sarah (Sophie Stuckey) travel from America to visit James (Bean), their estranged husband and father (respectively) at his new house in a remote Welsh location. Dafydd (Maurice Roëves) is a local who works on the land surrounding James's house, and he tells them of the mass suicide of a cult that happened 50 years ago in that same place. Just to add an extra cliché, one of the buildings that James now owns used to be a slaughterhouse. A story involving a girl who died 50 years ago but now seems to be alive appears inevitable.

The first half of the movie is almost horror-by-numbers, relying on camera angles, sound effects and music to create scares, but is neither inventive nor surprising in any way so fails to deliver the outcome it's going for. The tactic of silence followed by a sudden noise is overused and very quickly loses the impact it should have. The second half of the movie tries to be much more original, becoming more creepy and psychological, but seems to try too hard to make up for the rather hackneyed start to the film, as it twists and turns all over the place and is ultimately rather confused.

It's not all bad news though. Sean Bean and Maria Bello are both excellent in their roles, and they guide the film towards respectability. It's a shame the script and direction didn't match up to their talent, but they managed to make the best of a bad situation. Also, it was good to see that the film tried to be something different in the second half, even if it didn't quite work. The director, John Fawcett, had shown his intentions to try new things in an established genre with 2000's Ginger Snaps, and although The Dark is a disappointment I look forward to his future film work.

I'm afraid The Dark is a below par horror film, but it is saved by the performances of the leads and the attempt to be something different by the end. I was never bored while watching this film, but equally I was never particularly interested in it. My main thought at the end was, "What was the point of that?" 4/10

Andy Ingram

Odeon Online


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