Blu-Review: And Soon The Darkness (2010)

Directed By Marcos Efron
Starring Amber Heard, Odette Yustman, Karl Urban and César Viano



Best friends Stephanie (Amber Heard) and Ellie (Odette Yustman) are backpacking across South America, their trip leading to a stop-over in a small Argentinian village for the night. Carefree, danger-courting Ellie decides to drag her sensible pal out drinking, despite the town being filled with ominous signs of doom, from a history of missing tourists to a bar full of gruff latino dudes with rapey intentions. When a hangover and sheer bad luck causes them to miss the last bus out of town the next morning, they decide to see the local sights, but after becoming separated following a tiff between the two, Ellie is abducted. Stephanie, faced with unhelpful locals and stuck in a country whose language she doesn’t speak, turns to rugged American ex-pat Michael (Karl Urban) for help in finding her friend before it’s too late.

“Familiarity breeds contempt” is the phrase that best sums up the experience of watching And Soon The Darkness. A remake of Robert Fuest’s little-seen 1970 Brit movie of the same name, Marcos Efron’s retread is a well shot movie with solid performances across the board and some tense moments dotted around. Even so, this tale of fish-out-of-water Americans fleeing from sinister foreign kidnappers hits every well-worn plot beat of the ‘torture porn’/'girls in peril’ genre like a factory worker listlessly punching their time card. It’s predictable, overly familiar stuff that whips out musty genre tropes without hesitation: The straight-laced survivor girl and her careless, wild child friend; the shifty, less-than-helpful police chief; the young, attractive, helpless Americans senselessly wandering off alone in a clearly dangerous foreign land strewn with posters of missing backpackers; the car that refuses to start just as the villain approaches and…well, you get the idea. As a result, the film is a by-the-numbers thriller which sours any chance of a truly worthwhile experience with its rigid adherence to familiar clichés.
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Which is unfortunate, since it’s a technically well-made film, boasting beautiful cinematography, a pretty great (if completely wasted) cast and a few tense, well staged (if entirely familiar) set pieces. Amber Heard (Drive Angry, The Stepfather, The Ward) and Odette Yustman (Cloverfield, You Again) are given nothing resembling an actual character to work with, but both of them emote well and handle the base horror acting template of screaming and crying more impressively than most. Karl Urban (Star Trek, The Bourne Supremacy) is especially solid, and while he isn’t given much to do beyond standing around looking tough and handsome, his natural charisma, acting ability and rugged looks give the character an air of ambiguous mystery that the script doesn’t particularly earn. Marcos Efron is a decent director, too, managing to eke out palpable moments of tension from even the most familar chase scenes, and thankfully chooses the high road of taut thrills rather than gratuitous ‘torture porn’ gore.

And Soon The Darkness is a well constructed film with a solid cast, it’s just one we’ve seen ad nauseum over the past decade and never bothers to stray from the path of predictability and cliché. If you’ve seen Hostel, Turistas or any other ‘attractive women in peril’ movie in the last several years, then you’ve already seen everything that this remake has to offer. Still, if you’re looking for more of the same, then it’s certainly no worse than the majority of slasher/thriller films and does have a few well-executed thrills scattered around. And Soon The Darkness is not without its moments, but sadly it’s still disposable, overly familiar stuff.
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The film makes use of some gorgeous locations, a beautiful cast and attractive cinematography, so it’s no surprise that the Blu-ray transfer looks fantastic. The equally flawless 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track offers crystal clear dialogue and an effective added jolt to the film’s jump scares. An English 2.0 LPCM track is also tossed in.

A small selection of deleted scenes is lacking anything interesting – the majority are extended scenes that would’ve only bogged down the film’s pace further. The biggest scene features Stephanie and the police chief questioning the creepy old guy lurking around town who pops up for just a quick scene in the actual film. An audio commentary and a video diary from the director were included on the US Blu-ray, but are unfortunately missing from the UK disc. The only other added content is the film’s trailer, along with pre-menu trailers for The Tourist, Brighton Rock and The Last Exorcism.

The Film:

The Blu-ray:




And Soon The Darkness is out on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK now.
Click here to order the Blu-ray from Amazon.co.uk.

(Note: The images above were captured and saved at a reduced quality, and though they give an idea of how the film looks, they aren’t intended to reflect the true quality of the Blu-ray image itself.)