Film: And Soon The Darkness *
Release Date: Out Now
Director: Marcos Efron
Starring: Karl Urban, Amber Heard, Odette Yustman
Reviewer: Adam Wing
Stephanie (Amber Heard) and Ellie (Odette Yustman) aren’t the sharpest tools in the box. After misplacing the rest of their cycling party, they travel to an exotic village in Argentina where they spend most of the time basking in the sun, getting drunk and flirting with locals. They might regret that decision later.
After a long night of bar-hopping, Ellie decides to take a strange guy home with her, but she changes her mind when they get back to the apartment and pushes him away. She might regret that decision later. Luckily for them, a quiet, handsome outsider (Karl Urban) steps in to save the day.
Next morning, the girls go to a deserted lake (they might regret that decision later) to top up on their tans. After a needless argument, Stephanie abandons her ‘friend’ in the wilderness and cycles alone to cool off – do I really have to say the words?
When she returns, Ellie has disappeared. Finding signs of a struggle, Stephanie fears the worst, and turns to the police for help – she’ll probably regret that later too. The local authorities have their hands full already - with a string of unsolved kidnappings targeting young female tourists. There’s your first clue, missing girl posters litter the station walls.
Sceptical of the sheriff's competency, she enlists the help of handsome outsider Michael, an American ex-pat staying at their hotel. Together they go on a frantic search for Ellie, but Stephanie soon realizes that trusting his seemingly good intentions may drag her further from the truth. In this day and age, everybody’s a suspect, and Michael has an agenda of his own to work out. With danger mounting, and time running out, Stephanie must find her friend before darkness falls. If she finds an original script idea along the way it might come in handy, because who knows, there’s a chance she might regret this career choice later.
And Soon the Darkness starts promisingly enough, Marcos Efron fills the screen with attractive scenery, Amber Heard and Odette Yustman. The girls perform admirably throughout, shedding their clothes at regular intervals, acting incredibly dumb and allowing his camera to linger on their tanned, toned bodies for inappropriate periods of time. Having said that, it sure takes your mind off the absence of plot, but I’m not sure what our female viewers will think of that.
It’s a good job Karl Urban turns up; though to be completely honest, you’ll be forgiven for thinking he only did this for the paycheck. He seems miscast, stilted and bland. His back-story provides motivation for Stephanie, but its never truly resolved, and just as the film shows signs of life, he turns his back on the entire production. He might regret that decision sooner than he thinks.
To say that the girls are asking for trouble is like saying a pecker is wasted on the Pope. Every conceivable wrong decision is made along the way, and it might sound harsh to say, but Ellie in particular deserves everything she gets, just for being so relentlessly moronic. The police department, the kidnappers, the hotel staff - its almost as though the script was put together by a class of nine year old boys. Common sense, intelligence and reasoning are put to one side in favour of body shots, close ups and irrational behaviour.
Worse than that, nothing happens of any interest in the first hour of the movie. It’s a film that occasionally threatens to burst into life but never actually does. When events do take an inevitable, and quite frankly obvious turn for the worst, sparks of life aren’t enough to hold your interest. And Soon the Darkness is far too pedestrian, and much too apparent for its own good.
Attractive leads do not a solid thriller make, lush cinematography helps of course (as do countless bikini shots), but so do surprising plot twists, well written characters and something resembling a storyline. Tension is merely an afterthought in the all too brief finale that barely raises a glance, let alone a heartbeat.
When it comes to chills, spills and thrills, And Soon the Darkness is the cinematic equivalence of flatlining, and a complete waste of talent to boot. It might also be worth pointing out that this is yet another American remake of a 70's thriller, who knows, they might regret that decision later.