Monday, October 15, 2012

And Soon the Darkness (2010)

I've watched plenty of movies in the "kidnapped tourist" sub-subgenre of horror flicks. It's a terrifying prospect to be in a completely different culture, an ocean or more away from your family and friends and the country you know, and to find yourself at the mercy of people who want to do you harm, being unable to call for help because you don't even speak the language. It's a nightmare situation for sure. I could say something about not invading some foreign country and waltzing around like you own the place and acting like an ass, but the truth is that even if the people involved are kind of arrogant, they don't deserve to be tortured and/or killed. I can have empathy for people in this situation even if their own actions could have been better in the beginning of the movie (most of these movies show tourists partying it up without a thought for their own safety until things get bad).

This particular movie, a remake of a movie originally released in 1970, pits two likable actresses against some unknown entity that desires to capture and hurt them. Amber Heard and Odette Yustman are two of my favorite actresses, and in this movie, they play two friends who travel to Argentina on a bike tour but soon go AWOL to explore for themselves. they wind up in a place known for its tendency to host female tourists who wind up disappearing. The girls party and enjoy themselves, but they aren't overly arrogant or unlikable. One of the girls parties a bit too hard on the last night and the two wind up oversleeping, missing their bus, and arguing until splitting up seems like a good idea. Dude, I don't care how pissed off I am at a friend, I'm NOT leaving her side if we're in a foreign country in an isolated area alone. bullshit. But of course, one of the girls goes missing and the other must look for her.

I've seen a few movies like this, as I said before, but this one was different in that while the two women make some boneheaded moves, they aren't totally helpless. they both fight back more than most women do in similar movies, and they don't wait for a knight in shining armor to come save them. That's refreshing. I figured out the twist pretty early on, but it was still tense and suspenseful waiting to see what would happen to the characters and when THEY would figure it all out (and if they would get out alive). There's not an abundance of gore here, and the camera doesn't linger too long on the torture scenes, but there is enough to make the threat seem effective. It's definitely a movie worth watching for those who seek out movies like this (and those who might not want to deal with too much gore). It's also a slightly more female-empowering version of the typical damsel in distress movie, and that was something I appreciated. All in all I'm glad I watched it. Not perfect, but it held its own, and I want to watch the original now

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