And Soon the Darkness (UK - DVD R2)
Marcus loved hanging out with Amber and Odette but then one got kidnapped
Two girls are doing a spot of travelling when they decide to leave their party and do a bit of exploring. Spending the night in a small town, the pair go to the local bar and Ellis (Odette Yussman) ends up getting it on with a local, only to be saved my broody stranger Michael (Karl Urban) when the local gets a bit too pushy.
The following day the pair miss their tour bus due to an alarm clock malfunction and decide to spend the day at a nearby clearing. After an argument over each other's behaviour Stephanie (Amber Heard) leaves Ellie behind and after she pedals off, cools down and returns, realises her friend is missing. Now with the help of Michael and not many others Stephanie tries desperately to track her friend down only to discover the seedy underbelly of the local kidnapping business.
And Soon The Darkness (a title that bares almost no relation to the actual movie) really doesn’t offer up a lot. Barely anything happens in the eighty-seven minute run time and when it does it left me wondering how this one reached the big screen as it's got very small screen sensibilities. There’s nothing all that wrong with it, it just doesn’t really go anywhere all that exciting and for a thriller there’s really nothing that eventful going on outside of some pretty girls in a pretty backdrop getting caught up in a situation that we don’t learn near enough about during the course of the film.
It could be that the filmmakers expect us to fill in the gaps ourselves, which is fine, but really this looseness towards the plot should really have been propped up with some scares and some grizzly visuals to be effective but it just doesn’t go there. Instead we get a couple of pretty girls wandering blindly into danger.
Sadly this seems like all Amber Heard is becoming on our screens. After a great breakout in All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (a character I truly loved), Amber seems to have just coasted through roles. She's always good but she never seems to play outside pretty cliché roles and nothing changes with this one. As for Odette Yussman, she's a good looking girl, but her playing sassy here is pretty embarrassing and I just didn't buy it at all. Megan Fox-Lite has got some work to do if she wants to get noticed.
What we’re left with is a fairly tepid travel nightmare that is pretty forgettable and feels as if it missed an opportunity or two to shock, thrill or scare us somewhere along the line.
The Argentinean locations look pretty good on this DVD put it always feels only “pretty good” when you know how much better it’d look in HD. The lighting adds a nice natural colour palette, the photography of the area is well presented, but the softness in the standard definition transfer lets the side down a bit even if detail levels often hint at a greatness that's more than I’d expect from a DVD.
Night scenes look okay and the bar scene has some good colour choices to make the transfer feel more lively. Skin tones also look good (especially in the bikini scene) and really other than the softness to the image there’s not a lot to complain about.
I seem to have seen a fair few horrors lately and this latest one has a pretty well handled 5.1 track. The heart beating score does a good job with just the right amount of bass and there’s plenty of atmospherics to fill up the outdoor locations—from chirping birds and crickets to stones crunched under foot and car tyres struggling to grip the gravel.
The airy score sits just right to create the desired mood and without the movie ever really going over the top in scares the odd peak shows off the mix a bit more without there ever being a real show off moment. It’s a consistent track but not a very memorable one.
The disc opens with trailers for The Tourist, the Brighton Rock remake and The Last Exorcism, then it’s only the trailer (01:02) and just under seven minutes of deleted scenes for the actual movie. Pretty weak, right?
And Soon the Darkness doesn’t really live up to the eeriness of its title and really doesn’t deserve the relatively well known cast that it has. There's nothing unique about it, the story never goes anywhere unexpected, and even though it could be argued that it’s keeping it realistic, it’s a bit too obvious and as a straight down the line a kidnap movie, it lacks pay-off in the finale.
The disc is light on extras (especially when compared to other regions) and the good A/V presentation isn’t good enough to make this a must have. So really this becomes yet another small town's dark secret movie and not one that’s all that memorable.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 7th March 2011
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Dolby Digital 2.0 English
Extras: Deleted Scenes, Trailer
Easter Egg: No
Director: Marcos Efron
Cast: Amber Heard, Odette Yustman, Karl Urban
Genre: Drama and Thriller
Length: 87 minutes
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