Review: AND SOON THE DARKNESS (2010) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Saturday, 25 December 2010



Released in theaters with little fanfare that flies under most people's radar, AND SOON THE DARKNESS is nothing more than just another low-budget little thriller that is all about cliched formula. Despite being headlined by recognizable talents by the likes of Amber Heard, Odette Yustman and Karl Urban, this Hollywood remake (which is actually lifted from the 1970's little-known British thriller of the same name) is painfully routine.

The plot, in the meantime, is strictly by-the-numbers: Two young and sexy Americans, Stephanie (Amber Heard) and Ellie (Odette Yustman) are biking through the remote side of Argentinean country area where they stop to spend the last night of their vacation in a secluded hotel somewhere inside the village. After a shower, they head over to the nearest bar, where a handsome local buys them both a drink. The flirtatious Ellie is immediately charmed by that local and it doesn't take long before she decides to have some naughty fun with him. In the meantime, Stephanie heads back to the hotel to get a good night's sleep since they have a bus to catch next morning. Unfortunately her sleep is interrupted when Ellie returns to the hotel with the local, caressing each other outside the window. When the local tries to force her for sex, Ellie tries to resist. Luckily a kind American expatriate Michael (Karl Urban) comes to the rescue and manages to stop the situation. After a long night, Stephanie and Ellie finally manage to get some sleep but doesn't realize the following day they have been late and ultimately miss their bus. They have no choice but to head back to where they come from, and later, decides to spend a day sunbathing in a bikini somewhere nearby a remote area. But their quiet time alone with the nature quickly turns sour when they get themselves over a heated argument, which prompted Stephanie to leave Ellie behind. Still it doesn't take long for Stephanie that she grows concerned when Ellie fails to show up at a nearby restaurant shortly after her SMS apology. Then coincidentally, Stephanie meets Michael again. Apparently Michael is so eager to help to find her missing friend but to no avail. Stephanie ends up reporting Ellie's disappearance to a local policeman named Calvo (Cesar Vianco), who immediately dismisses her suspicions of foul play. Instead Calvo tells Stephanie to take it easy and somehow makes little effort for even organizing a search party to find Ellie. Still the ever-helpful Michael continues to show more concern to assist Stephanie in searching for Ellie, although Stephanie begins to suspect that Michael might have something to do with her friend's disappearance.

Marcos Efron and Jennifer Derwingson's adapted screenplay from the original movie is awfully slow-moving, which takes too much leisure time to find proper footing to get to the point. And sadly, there's hardly anything particularly riveting waiting to happen. Even by the time the movie reaches to the point where the motive becomes increasingly clear, Efron, who also made his debut feature here as the director, just doesn't know how to sustain the escalating tension with some worthy thrilling moments. Instead everything here falls flat. Despite the fact that Efron is more interested to build psychological suspense than displaying all the gratuitous gore that often associated this kind of genre, he is simply tone deaf in this area. The only thing that comes close for some thrilling set pieces is the climactic finale but they are simply not enough to justify the entire whole.

Meanwhile the cast are totally forgettable, with Amber Heard and Odette Yustman displaying little acting talents other than showing off their scantily-clad bodies. Karl Urban is equally wasted here as well, and so do the rest of the supporting actors.

On the technical fronts, only cinematographer Gabriel Beristain impresses with his handsome photography over the Argentinean countryside that is certainly nice to look at. Too bad everything else is just shockingly dull.

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