The Dark - DVD

Sean Bean takes a break from playing posh English villains to star in this bonkers horror about Celtic myths in Wales. When 8-year-old Sarah (Stuckey) drowns in a freak accident Adelle (Bello) becomes plagued by visions that make her believe her daughter is trying to communicate with her from a parallel universe.

A quick flick through a handily-placed manual on Celtic folklore confirms her suspicions, but also tells her that the only way to get Sarah back is to sacrifice some poor sod to take her place. Strangely, there aren’t many takers for this impromptu suicide session so Adelle does the only sensible thing – befriends a local girl who looks vaguely like her little moppet and tosses her off the headland instead. Genius.

The most enjoyable thing about John “Ginger Snaps” Fawcett’s latest offering is trying to spot his nods to classic horrors of the past.

“The Wicker Man”, “Don’t Look Now” and “The Fog” are all mimicked but, unfortunately, the second half owes its main inspiration to a far less distinguished entry in the genre.

In keeping with the film’s title, there isn’t much in the way of enlightening information on this threadbare special features package. First up is a collection of interviews with the film’s stars, although Bello only appears for a couple of minutes, and Bean’s most pertinent observation is that “Weird things happen with sheep".

Fawcett is slightly more loquacious on his 13-minute chat – possibly to make up for the lack of director’s commentary – but, again, fails to reveal anything particularly interesting about the subject matter.

The only other bonus feature is a slightly shorter alternative ending that leaves more room for interpretation than the original, but is likely to leave viewers thinking “er, is that it?”.

Verdict

People hurling themselves off cliffs, freaky long-haired kids and lots of water-based carnage make “The Dark” a dull “Ring 2” clone - which doesn’t even have the saving grace of seeing Naomi Watts in a wet t-shirt.

Dodgy dialogue, an incomprehensible finale that left this reviewer well and truly in the dark, and some laughable scenes with rampaging sheep mean that when Sean Bean shouts “Jesus Christ, this is ridiculous!” you’ll struggle not to yell in agreement.

Rating: 15
Staring: Sean Bean, Maria Bello, Sophie Stuckey
Directed by: John Fawcett
Extras: Alternative ending, Interviews


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