The Dark

Starring: Sean Bean and Maria Bello
Momentum Pictures
RRP: 17.99
Certificate: 15
Available 11 September 2006

Adelle flies from America to visit her estranged husband James in a remote coastal region of Wales. With her is her daughter Sarah. Their relationship is decidedly edgy and cold. James is delighted to see them, inviting them into his isolated new house which he is renovating, but he immediately notices the tension between mother and daughter. When Sarah goes missing whilst exploring the rocks at the edge of the sea the couple is distraught. The search of the coastline fails to find a body. When a mysterious little girl turns up in Sarah's place James is protective of her, because she appears distressed. But Adelle, after uncovering old books and photographs, is convinced Sarah is still alive and that the new arrival knows the secret of her disappearance and how to get her back. The rune-covered obelisk on the cliff top signifies a dark moment in history - a moment that looks set to be repeated...

At the time of its cinematic release, The Dark received mixed reviews. Few sang its praises, but most agreed that it was a worthy addition to the horror fold. Personally, I think average reviews did this film a disservice. It's nothing if not original. It's atmospheric, has plenty of jolts and scares (aided by the excellent 5.1 sound), is well directed and, despite the moderately overdone final scenes, it's well-plotted too.

Sean Bean (veteran of TV's Sharpe and many fine movies) plays James with his normal conviction, although in the Special Features interview he's caught between not wanting to give away too much about the film and being boring to listen to. The rest of the cast come across convincingly, particularly Abigail Stone who plays the strange little girl from the past, Ebril.

There's not too much more to say about The Dark, except it's worth ninety minutes of anybody's time. Film-tinting, underwater shots, well-choreographed stunts and quick directorial cuts means you get the real impression the crew genuinely cared about the outcome.

Special Features include: Cast & Crew Interviews; a Trailer; and the Revised Ending (which isn't significantly different from the finished product). I'm a little disappointed that there's no commentary though.

Ty Power

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