And Soon the Darkness (2010)

And Soon the Darkness (2010)

Taglines: Alone. Stranded. No one to trust.

Stephanie and Ellie, two young American women, decide to stay in a small hotel on their last night in Argentina. After a drunken night at the local bar, where they encounter some of the local men, the two miss the bus that was supposed to take them to their destination. Since the bus only comes once per day, they begin their trip and head down to the nearby river to relax and enjoy their extra day off.

The trip takes a turn for the worse when the two are separated after a heated argument, and Ellie is kidnapped. While Stephanie desperately searches for her friend, she is joined by Michael, an American who claims to be looking for his girlfriend who disappeared months before.

The duo is assisted by the town’s only police officer, who acts oddly suspicious. Stephanie finds the hide-out where the kidnapper has taken Ellie and manages to rescue her, but Ellie is later killed in the escape by the man who kidnapped her.

The policeman appears and lures Stephanie in his car. By finding her passport there, she understands that the lone police officer was behind all the missing girls. Michael grabs the policeman’s weapon. The policeman offers to trade Michael’s girlfriend, Camila, for Stephanie. Michael agrees but is shot by the policeman using a second weapon.

And Soon the Darkness is a 2010 American mystery thriller film directed by Marcos Efron, starring Karl Urban, Amber Heard, and Odette Annable. It is a remake of the 1970 British film of the same name. The screenplay was written by Jennifer Derwingson and Marcos Efron. The film was shot in March 2009 in Argentina.

And Soon the Darkness (2010)

Film Review for And Soon the Darkness

The first thing you see in writer/director Marcos Efron’s new thriller, “And Soon the Darkness”, a remake of a 1970 British film of the same name, is a young, scantily clad woman, chained to a wall, get electrocuted by some unseen villain. This gives you the immediate impression that the film is going to be another torture porn. So it is a pleasant surprise when “And Soon the Darkness” instead turns out to be a tight, well-executed suspense film. It isn’t exploring any new territory, but for what it is, it is well done.

Stephanie (Amber Heard, who also serves as co-producer) and Ellie (Odette Yustman) are nearing the end of a once-in-a-lifetime bicycle trip through Argentina. Steph is the low key, almost prudish girl, while Ellie is the wild, free-spirited part of the duo. On their last day they come to a remote mountain village, and after a shower, decide to go out for a night on the town.

You’ve seen enough horror movies to know that flaunting your sexy Americanness while in a foreign country never ends well. Ellie gets wasted, flirts with a local, and has to be rescued from unwanted sexual advances in the wee hours of the morning by Michael (Karl Urban with some sweet highlights in his hair), a mysterious American who is staying at the same hotel as the girls.

And Soon the Darkness (2010)

The next morning, Ellie’s raging hangover causes the girls to miss the only bus out of town that day. Since they’re stuck anyway the girls decide to go exploring, but while at a scenic waterfall they have a fight, and Steph leaves Ellie and rides off on her bike. Eventually Steph cools down, but when she returns to the falls to retrieve Ellie, there are signs of a struggle, but no signs of Ellie. The local authorities are no help, and none of the villagers will talk to her, so, desperate and with nowhere else to turn, Steph enlists Michael to help. But Michael has some secrets of his own, and may not be everything he seems. As the sheriff tells Steph, “just because he speaks English, doesn’t mean you should trust him.”

You’ve seen this set up before—pretty girls in trouble, picturesque surroundings that hide a sinister underbelly, frustratingly unhelpful provincial police, a helpful stranger who may not be trustworthy, and of course the if-only-they’d-caught-that-bus-everything-would-be-okay moment. The main question is, even though “And Soon the Darkness” is full of standard horror-thriller elements, will the film deliver something unique or compelling? The answer to that is yes, it does.

The story is tense and convincing. You feel Steph’s rising panic as she frantically searches for her kidnapped BFF. The plot has ample twists and turns, taking you in some unexpected directions, but these shifts are never forced, arising instead as a natural part of the narrative, as opposed to jumping out of thin air and trying to shock you. MINOR SPOILER—you’re watching “And Soon the Darkness”, waiting for them to screw everything up with some sort of hideous attempt to blow your mind, like “it was all a dream” or something on par with that, but it never happens. There is no twist ending. Instead of going in for cheap tricks and scares, Efron, and co-writer Jennifer Derwingson, rely on good storytelling to construct an effective, suspenseful movie.

And Soon the Darkness Movie Poster (2010)

And Soon the Darkness (2010)

Directed by: Marcos Efron
Starring by: Amber Heard, Odette Yustman, Karl Urban, Gia Mantegna, Adriana Barraza, Javier Luna, Daniel Figuereido, Michel Noher, Andrea Verdun, Esteban Pastrana, Walter Pena, Jorge Booth
Screenplay: Jennifer Derwingson
Production Design by: Marcela Bazzano
Cinematography by: Gabriel Beristain
Film Editing by: Todd E. Miller
Costume Design by: Marisa Urruti
Art Direction by: Marcela Bazzano
Music by: tomandandy
MPAA Rating: R for some violence and brief torture.
Distributed by: Anchor Bay Films
Release Date: December 17, 2010

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