31 Days Of Horror: “A Dark Song”

 

 
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Title: A Dark Song
 
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Writer:
 
Actors: ,
 
Genre: ,
 
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Direction
8.0


 
Acting
9.0


 
Plot
9.0


 
Execution
8.0


 
Total Score
8.5


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Posted October 10, 2017 by

 
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My tolerance for horror movies ranges quite a bit. I don’t judge each one on the same scale. I won’t, for instance, watch something like “The Strangers” and then try to hold “Seed of Chucky” to the same standards. It’s the tricky part of writing reviews: basing how you feel about a certain film on where it lands on this imaginary rating spectrum that you never describe to the readers but can see it clearly in your own mind. They all have their place in the genre so you have to love them all equally but there are those that stand far above the rest. One of those superior horror films, in my humble opinion, is “A Dark Song”.

Sophia Howard (Catherine Walker) has been a psychological mess since the death of her young son Jack. Desperate to make contact with him one last time, Sophia hires an occultist, Joseph (Steve Oram), to help her carry out a dark ritual that will grant her one wish. The further the two make it into the process, the more dangerous the situation becomes and Sophia has to ask herself, “Is it even worth it?”

Writer/Director Liam Gavin takes his time letting his story unfold to really let its unsettling atmosphere take center stage. We watch as Sophia and Joseph do the same tedious actions over and over, remind each other what could happen, what will happen, and what they want to happen. We watch as Sophia puts herself through physical and mental torture of sorts all while Joseph is standing nearby telling her it’s definitely working. I got to the point, and so did Sophia, where I began to question if anything at all was going to come from all of their hard work. Little things took place, but they were easily explained away. A few times Sophia was ready to give up and leave, but Joseph tells her if she tries to leave the house before the ritual is over they will be stuck there forever. Basically, our characters are attempting to unleash Hell in an old Victorian home where they cannot escape.

“A Dark Song” is one of those rare horror movies that doesn’t rely on jump scares or the spilling of blood to try to scare the audience. It uses a drum-heavy soundtrack to raise the tension and imagery that’s always just out of focus to really unsettle anyone who watches it. My favorite scene is one where Sophia is sitting at a table reading up on what she still has to do in order to contact her dead son — flickering candles the only light available in an otherwise pitch black room — when she feels someone in the room with her. She looks up towards a chair directly across from her and she can just barely see the outline of a body; a lit cigarette occasionally getting brighter with each supposed inhale from whoever the entity is. A low grumbling, almost inaudible speaking begins and Sophia decides to work up the courage to approach whoever, or whatever, it is. I found myself really wanting her to turn back and leave, but also to keep going so I could see what happens next. It’s scenes like this that inhabit the world of “A Dark Song” and make it one of the better horror movies to come along in quite a while.

As scary as “A Dark Song” truly is, I wanted it to go on for as long as possible. I was mesmerized by the cinematography, the acting, the soundtrack; everything. Movies like this one don’t come around all that often so I’m always pleasantly surprised when I stumble upon one. It is currently streaming on Netflix and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.


DavidRyanM

 


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