out of Five
Running time: 93
Enjoyable, well-acted thriller that’s ultimately let down by a disappointing final reel. Impressive sheep-wrangling though.
What’s it all about?
Maria Bello plays Adele, a mother who takes her young daughter Sarah (pre-teen Scarlett Johansson lookalike Sophie Stuckey) to see her estranged father, James (Sean Bean) on the north coast of Wales. There's tension between mother and daughter because of a recent incident in New York, so when Sarah goes missing and is presumed drowned, Adele feels incredibly guilty.
However, in true horror movie fashion, Strange Things start to happen. Adele keeps seeing a spooky young girl who isn't Sarah and James' handyman (Maurice Roeves) tells her of a local myth involving the resurrection of the dead by sacrificing a life for a life.
The film is based on the novel Sheep
by Simon Maginn, although that particular credit is liable to elicit a few unintentional sniggers before the film even gets going. However, it’s directed by John Fawcett, whose horror credentials are firmly in place after Ginger Snaps.
In terms of its plot, The Dark has rather had its thunder stolen by last year’s Dark Water, but it's creepily effective in places. Despite a disappointing final reel, it does have several things going for it - namely the gorgeous scenery, some stunning location work, strong performances by the three leads and in the film’s best scene- an impressive bit of sheep wrangling.
The main problem with The Dark is that the script feels underdeveloped. It’s annoying that the characters continually spell everything out for the audience. Similarly, the direction of the ending could have been a lot tighter. Its impact is lessened as a result.
If you prepare yourself for a disappointing finale, then The Dark is definitely worth seeing, thanks to strong performances and some impressive location work. Great sheep scene too.