This movie should have been so, so much better than it is.
Robert P. Beveridge | Cleveland, OH | 07/28/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The Dark (John Fawcett, 2005)
Fawcett (Ginger Snaps) has found most of the work as a TV director, but he does make the occasional feature film, and for the most part, those feature films are ignored by the public and as excellent as you'd expect given that fact. So it seemed to me that Fawcett directing an adaptation of Simon Maginn's stellar novel Sheep was a guaranteed shot out of the park. That was unfortunately not the case, thanks mostly to Stephen Massicotte (Ginger Snaps Back)'s screenplay, but it certainly doesn't deserve the oblivion it has been relegated to in the years since its release.
James (Sean Bean, recently of Silent Hill) and Adele (The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor's Maria Bello) have recently lost their daughter Sarah, who drowned. Soon after, where they are visited by Ebril (Abigail Stone in her first screen role), a girl who claims to have drowned sixty years before. Could this be the spirit, or the reincarnation, of Sarah?
The concept of Annwn is not unknown to Americans, thanks mostly to Lloyd Alexander's tales of Taran, steeped in the same mythology that guides The Dark. And since the movie was made for a British audience, you'd think they'd have done something a bit more advanced than Annwn 101. Yet that's pretty much what we get here, and the balance that comes from the tension in the novel is erased (there's one scene, especially, that's noticeably absent from the film that worked very, very well in the book, the midnight flight to the doctor's house). Plotwise, this one feels almost phoned in. Yet Fawcett's distinct sense of atmosphere remains in this movie, even when it goes far, far over the edge of cheesiness in its climax. Fawcett knows how to create a scene, and he does it as well here as he ever has; pity there's so little substance to go with the style. A major disappointment. **