I kind of enjoy this quiet brooder that many seem to despise. I can’t disagree that it’s far too familiar and that nobody needs another “Where’s My Kid At?/ Not Without My Undead Daughter!” flick. Maybe I’m just a sucker for its Isle of Mann pretending to be a Welsh seaside location. Then again I’ve always had a thing for hometown heroine MARIA BELLO who, if she donned a fake mustache, I’d marry tomorrow (sorry A.J.!) I admit that THE DARK may not reinvent the wheel-o, but the cinematography is borderline gorgeous and even though it has maybe five too many endings, it’s got a passionate core that’s enviable.
BELLO plays Adelle, an emotionally distant mother who carts her young daughter Sarah (SOPHIE STUCKEY) off to the isolated shabby chic home of her estranged ex (SEAN BEAN). Nightmares of losing her daughter become prophetic as the little girl ends up being whisked away by the crashing sea. In actuality, she is trapped in a mythical Welsh underworld known as “Annwn.” Soon after a girl similar in age as the missing daughter appears and it becomes evident that a trade of some sort has been made. Unfortunately, folks who return from Annwyn are worse for the wear and tend to have a highly toxic effect on livestock and a general schleprockian disposition.
Following the requisite searching of the local library’s microfilm collection, Adelle decides the only way to get back her real daughter is to force a trade back by chucking the new kid off a cliff. (Personally I would have kept the depressing Wednesday Addams chick and let my iPod wearing mouthy brat to her new home.)
I doubt THE DARK could rock anybody’s world, but it’s a perfect time-waster on a winter night. I rather enjoyed learning about the refreshingly low key limbo like dimension “Annwyn” to boot. The whole affair is more spooky than scary, but MAURICE ROEVES is perfect as the salt of the Earth handyman Dafydd and flash back scenes of homemade lobotomies are actually kind of cringe worthy. Extra kudos are earned by showcasing a suicide cult learning the hard way that the first step off a cliff is a real doozy.
More than anything though, this movie has the world’s most profound, yet borderline hilarious pie-in-the-face door slamming scene I think I have ever witnessed, That’s gotta count for something!