Publicity Stills of "The Dark"
(Courtesy from Shaw)

Genre: Horror
Director: John Fawcett
Starring: Maria Bello, Sean Bean, Sophie Stuckey, Abigail Stone and Maurice Roëves
RunTime: 1 hr 33 mins
Released By: Shaw
Rating: PG

Opening Day: 5 January 2006

Synopsis :

In a last ditch attempt to pull her family back together, New Yorker Adelle (MARIA BELLO) travels with her young daughter Sarah (SOPHIE STUCKEY) to Wales – to see her estranged husband James (SEAN BEAN) and try to patch their lives back together in the surroundings of an old cliff-top farmhouse.

But Adelle’s worst nightmares are realised when, days into the trip, Sarah is tragically swept out to sea, pulled into the dark depths despite her mother’s desperate attempts to save her. While James leads the search for Sarah’s body, a guilt-ridden Adelle is haunted by visions and traces of her daughter – it’s almost as if Sarah is trapped somewhere in the house itself.

Learning of an ancient local legend of a place called The Dark – an ethereal land of the dead that is a distorted mirror image of the real world - Adelle becomes convinced Sarah is trying to communicate to her from this sinister parallel universe.

When she finds a strange little girl named Ebrill (ABIGAIL STONE) in Sarah’s bed, Adelle is sure she’s the key to getting her daughter back. For the legend dictates that the departed can be returned from The Dark if a sacrifice is made – one of the living for one of the dead. And if Ebrill is who she says she is, she died over fifty years before.

But all James can see in his wife is a woman in the depths of despair and on the very edge of sanity. To him, Ebrill is a runaway, nothing more. However, when local farmer and handyman Daffyd (MAURICE ROËVES) recognises Ebrill from his own shadowy childhood, one filled with stark memories of a rural pagan cult, Adelle knows her suspicions are true.

And she takes the ultimate leap of faith – throwing herself into the ocean, and into The Dark itself, in her frantic attempt to reclaim her daughter’s life.

Movie Review:

The Cave, The Descent, The Fog and now The Dark. Director John Fawcett has jumped on the bandwagon of uninspired film titles. Then again, films of the horror genre rarely have imaginative names, supposedly, for the lack of better words. The past five years has also seen an increasing number of films being produced in Asia, namely Japan and Korea. While Asian horror is trying to revive its market for quality Asian horror, their British counterparts have started gaining acclaim for its horror products.

The root of the rise of British horror can be attributed, strangely enough to John Fawcett himself who wrote and directed the cult-hit Ginger Snaps back in 2000. Following by example, Danny Boyle directed 28 Days Later which introduced the world to Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins, Red Eye). Neil Marshall also followed with Dog Soldiers and most recently, The Descent. Unfortunately, The Dark creates a slight dent to the market, with its uninspired directing.

Like Cursed, Ginger Snaps dealt with werewolves but with a touch of puberty. Creative enough for the film to gain cult status in Britain, at least. Little is known if the four years spent directing for the television has caused Fawcett to lose touch with the silver screen. While The Dark’s premise may be a tad imaginative, the presentation was pretty equivocal. Fawcett failed to present anything new and left it to cheap scare tactics. Actually, it was more boring than it was scary.

Adele (Maria Bello) and her daughter Sarah (Sophie Stuckey) visit her husband James (Sean Bean) at his cottage in a remote part of Wales. What starts off in a peaceful mood is later disrupted by sheep jumping over a cliff and Welsh folklore that was only inferred but never fully explained or explored.

Exploring the Welsh coast, Adele discovers to her shock that Sarah has fallen into the waters. James, fearing the worst, succumbs to the fact that Sarah has drowned. On the other hand, Adele hears things going bump in the attic and it leads her to discover Ebrill in an abattoir located not too far away from the house. Ebrill starts to ask the weirdest of things like asking James to become her father. Adele learns from Dafydd (Maurice Roeves), James’ caretaker that Ebrill is the reincarnation of the same girl who died sixty years before.

The film goes downhill from here as we learn of a mass suicide that had taken place and the shepherd of the abattoir who had murdered his followers in order for his daughter, Ebrill to come back alive. This led to a finale that was far from lucid, coming across as one that was completely ludicrous.

The Dark is hardly the place for the likes of Maria Bello and Sean Bean. It takes a step back instead of putting its best foot forward in helping the horror genre. The Dull sounds more like the title than the Dark.

Movie Rating:

(The Dark is a horror disguised as a horror movie)

Review by Mohamad Shaifulbahri

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