And Soon the Darkness (Review)

AND SOON THE DARKNESS
(12/17/10; Thriller)
Karl Urban, Amber Heard, Odette Yustman, Gia Mantegna, Adriana Barraza, Michel Noher
SCR: Marcos Efron, Jennifer Derwingson
DIR: Marcos Efron
MPAA: Rated R for some violence and brief torture.
1 hour 31 mins

Two beautiful American girls are separated, while vacationing in Argentina, but not after attracting attention because, well, Yustman’s kind of a loud whore. They miss a bus, find a spot to sunbathe and after some dumpy exposition, go their separate ways. If you can accept that contrivance of a setup, you’re in for a treat once the kidnapping and torture begins.

As in the 1970 British original, the movie does a nice job of building tension amidst beautiful widescreen vistas (the original takes place in France). Alas, the tension deflates as the search and movie wear on, mainly because of the decision to show Yustman in chains being electro-shocked in the opening moments.

Once we’ve seen that, there is no pressing need to discover “what happened” as much as “why,” and that ain’t all that exciting either.

The movie does boast some killer cinematography and set design but it’s hard to care when most everyone in the cast is a pathological scumbag. Urban elicits some sympathy as a guy searching for his missing girlfriend; and Heard does her best with the material even if she never quite reaches the primal state required of her.

Although the original is considered a classic now, it was not received well. The New York Times said it displayed a “poverty of imagination” (Anchor Bay Films)

— DENNIS WILLIS

Author: Dennis Willis

Dennis Willis is an award-winning producer, TV host, producer, director, editor (he preferred Avid until a torrid affair with Adobe Premiere, and the rest is history), author and film critic (print and radio). Dennis produced and hosted the TV programs Reel Life, FilmTrip, Soundwaves (1983-2008) and produces the annual Soundwaves Xmas program. He is currently the film critic on KGO Radio in San Francisco, and a member of both the San Francisco Film Critics Circle and the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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