And Soon The Darkness

Year:  2010
Director:  Marcos Efron
Cast:  Amber Heard, Odette Yustman, Karl Urban, Adrianna Barazza

Two young American female friends take a biking trip through Argentina.  They stray away from the rest of their group to explore a small town where they encounter various townspeople during a night of drinking at the local bar.   The next day, one of the girls goes missing and it is up to the other to find her before it is too late.

And Soon The Darkness is yet another entry into the ever growing "Americans in Peril in a Foreign Land" sub-genre that has seemed to gain popularity over the last few years.   And while it is a gorgeous film to look at, with beautiful cinematography that captures the amazing Argentina countryside brilliantly, the film never really packs the emotional punch that it should have.  First, it is difficult to garner any sympathy or emotional attachment for the two female leads because, frankly, what happens to them is a solely a result of their own ridiculous actions.  Why, when you are in an unknown country, would you willingly separate from the safety of your group to spend the night in a scarcely populated town?   Even more, why, when you are a young, beautiful female, bring attention to yourself by getting drunk and whorishly flirty with every decent looking guy you come into contact in the only bar in the said town?  And more importantly, why go to the most remote, obscure location you can find, strip down to sunbathe, get into a catty argument, and separate from you only companion in the middle of nowhere?   Now, this is not to suggest that the characters deserve what happens to them.   However, in a film that for most of its running time has only these two central characters to relate to, it is crucial that the viewer relate to them and, more importantly feel for them. This has nothing to do with the performances of Heard and Yustman, who are both adequate in their roles, but more to do with the script.   The other problem with the film is that for most of its running time, it fails to really ever create any tension or suspense and becomes quite tedious in its execution.  The film tries to build some suspense in how it handles the various townsfolk that Heard's character seeks help from?  Can she trust them?  However, this falls flat because of the development and potrayals of these characters.  It is obvious from the beginning who can be trusted and who can't.   The action does pick up in the last ten minutes of the film, but by then boredom has already set in.  There just isn't much exciting happening through most of the film to make the final confrontation a redeeming quality.

In the end, And Soon the Darkness is a beautifully shot, decently acted film that could have done so much more with its characters and settings than it did.  Unlike a lot of horror films that hit DVD, this one is competently made with great production values.  The problem lies solely in a lackluster and uninspired screenplay.  It commits a huge no-no in the horror genre in that it becomes boring and instantly forgettable. 

Fright Meter Grade:

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