And Soon The Darkness DVD review
|REVIEWS - DVD REVIEWS|
Don't touch that remote, as a promising remake gets off to a deceptively bad start...
The opening 60 seconds of this film are enough to make you scream with frustration -- which would at least drown out the screams emitting from the scantily-clad young lady we're witnessing, whilst tied to a drainpipe, being whipped and electrocuted by an unseen Spanish-speaking assailant. It feels like we're in torture porn territory; the horrors of Saw and Hostel come to claim us once more.
All I can say to that pre-credit impulse to switch off is: DON'T. And Soon The Darkness is by no means a classic -- and it does little we haven't seen before -- but it is more thoughtful, suspenseful and, well, good, than that opening sequence suggests.
A remake of the cult 1970s British thriller of the same name -- about a pair of young women on a cycling holiday who ride into trouble -- this version replaces young Brits with young Americans and the French countryside with Argentinean, but is otherwise pretty faithful to the plot: after missing the bus on the last day of their trip thanks to a hangover and sexual shenanigans, the girls cycle to a scenic spot, argue, separate, and lose each other for longer than intended (given the aforementioned opening, I don't think it's a spoiler to note this isn't accidental).
That said, while ostensibly aesthetic, the move to South America is the best choice the producers made; the locations are simply sublime. Still, credit is due to director Marcos Efron in his debut-feature for not resting on these rustic laurels. He captures their natural beauty with swooping wide-angle shots, whilst also acknowledging the more sinister untamed void they represent with expert use of colour and lighting.
It would be easy to suggest that Argentina upstages the supposed stars of Odette Yustman (most recently seen as Annie in Brothers and Sisters) and Amber Heard (currently seen driving wildly in Drive Angry 3D and, err, slowly on Top Gear). But that would be unfair. The actors do well with what are pretty familiar duo tropes: Yustman as wild-child Ellie and Heard as straight-laced Stephanie. Heard, in particular, produces a compelling performance: we feel every inch of her increased agitation at the disappearance of her friend and the omerta of silence she meets in seeking help from the locals.
There are some twists along the way (although hardly revelatory) and the film does a fine job of keeping you in suspense. Despite its borderline-ambiguous conclusion, you're satisfied come the credits. So not a classic then, but it's perfectly worth your time. Oh, and it's not Saw 8; for which we can all be ruddy grateful.
A bog-standard trailer and a few deleted scenes that add nothing. It might as well be extra-less.
And Soon The Darkness is released on the 7th of March
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