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The Dark

Film Three Stars

Sean Bean is such a lost talent, he's a great actor and never seems to be given a decent or lead role. Even in Lord of the Rings he was cast as the turncoat. So I was excited to hear that he was the lead man in this movie, although not the lead it was a good step. Plus it was a British film and a horror. These things all combined to make me think that this was a movie to see.

Both Bean and Maria Bello are very convincing in the movie. Bean plays the straight up man who is confused by the happenings around him and just wants to make the family happy again, he plays a super convincing Father. Bello gives a great performance as she is called upon to be a trying mother, confused, insane, panicked and totally distraught. Not that much of a range really! The interplay between these two actors is very good, and when Bean has scenes with the daughter, he's just superb.

Something that becomes quite annoying through the first half of the movie are the deliberate scare tactics used by the Director, they are exceedingly formulaic and you know when they are coming and even when the shock comes. Still, all credit to them, you still leap out of your chair even knowing when a scare is coming. The formula is pretty constant through the first half, slow music, a long single scene, slow movement and no action, usually in the darkness, then a few fast cuts together accompanied by a loud sound and a raise in the music tempo, and there you have the scare. During the screening people were leaping like mad!

After a while following this formula the film does turn around on itself and become something different. It's here that it becomes a lot more psychological and indeed, clever. There was a big feeling in this half of Event Horizon, particularly the flashbacks to being strapped in the chair, fast, multiple cuts of horror.

However during the latter half it also becomes confusing and very weird, yet I wish the whole movie had been like this. It could have abandoned its standard scare tactics and concentrated on the plot in the latter half, and this would have provided for a much more psychologically scary movie.

There's a particular moment near the end of the movie when a door closes in front of the lead, and your emotions are totally with the character at this point. Confusion for a few seconds and then a slow building understanding. It's a very good moment.

Still, however clever the entire ending is, I still felt it lacked clarity and subtlety. Dropping the scare formula of the first half would have brought a much better movie, and getting rid of the premise of scary sheep would have helped too. Perhaps it's a British thing, but sheep are not in the least bit scary, in fact coming from a Northern Scottish town sheep are considered far from scary. It just seemed to be a plot device that was struggling not to be absurd.

That said, you'll still leap, you'll still be scared, and when the film finishes you'll still like the conclusion.


IMDB UK movie details





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Comments

"coming from a Northern Scottish town sheep are considered far from scary."

I'm just a love machine...

Saw the trailer yesterday before Inside Man, so I guess it's finally being shown.

I agree the films works more on a psychological than on a scare level. Nothing in the film really seemed that chilling to me. Sheep are about the least scary animal, but I did enjoy a couple of the sheep stampedes. For me this felt more like a supernatural drama than a horror film, much like The Devils Backbone is (Although this is not a patch on that). I did admire the way it had the feel of an Asian ghost film to a point without actually blatantly ripping one off.

Ooh, Devils Backbone has some really nice moments in it. It's been an age since I saw that film, it opened me up to Spanish horror.

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