Tourists seem to always have a bad time in horror films. Whether it’s the hapless college kids in Hostel, the honeymooning couple in A Perfect Getaway or the tortured tourists in Turistas. It seems horror films constantly serve as a public service announcement to all Americans to avoid going abroad at all costs and holiday at home.
And Soon The Darkness is such a film. This time detailing the perils of bike trekking across Argentina, especially if you are two young good-looking girls, prone to wearing skimpy clothes and going it alone without speaking a word of the local language.
The luckless ladies in this particular piece of overseas scaremongering are Stephanie and Ellie, a couple of game girls who find themselves in a quiet village in the middle of nowhere with one night left before their bus back to the airport. Deciding to go out and have some fun, Ellie’s drinking, flirting and frisky late night liaison with a local lad leads to them both waking up late the next day and missing their only ride home.
Annoyed by her friend’s actions, sensible Stephanie argues with Ellie and storms off leaving her alone. Regretting her actions immediately she tries to contact her friend only to discover she has disappeared. Realising she has been kidnapped and desperate to find her friend and with no help from the police and local populace, Stephanie’s only option is to team up with Michael, another American, who claims to be looking for someone who disappeared months ago.
As her search goes on Stephanie uncovers worrying evidence and starts to wonder who she can trust. Can she ever find Ellie before its too late? Or will she befall the same fearful fate as her friend?
It is unsurprising to discover that this unoriginal movie is in fact a remake of a 1970’s British thriller, also called And Soon The Darkness, directed by Robert Fuest – the man behind the camera of The Abominable Dr. Phibes.
Transplanting the setting from rural France to rural Argentina and making it all modern day, the primary factors still remain the same, along with a seemingly old fashioned sexist xenophobic agenda. Packed with weird locals, useless corrupt police and danger lurking behind every corner, the film’s primary message seems to be that young ladies should never travel to foreign countries unless accompanied by a responsible man or else all sorts of horrors await them.
From the opening scenes where bad dark-haired Ellie vocally disrespects the locals, and provocatively dances in the local bar while her good blond haired friend Stephanie watches on disapprovingly, it is obvious what will happen. And sadly the film’s predictability is its ultimate weakness with the plot playing out exactly as expected with no originality at all.
The cast does their best with Karl Urban (from The Lord of the Rings and Star Trek) and Odette Yustman (from The Unborn and Cloverfield) doing their best with what they have. Amber Heard (from Zombieland, The Ward and Drive Angry) gives a good performance, pulling every piece of emotion she can out of the character and trying her hardest to make the audience care about her plight.
Although the settings are spectacular, the directing is uninspiring and the over-use of inane pointless subtitles borders on the infuriating, sadly leaving And Soon The Darkness as simply another unimaginative update, with a storyline that is stunningly predictable from the get go.
If only the girls had stayed in the US and gone bike trekking somewhere safer, like a nice haunted forest or a small town in the deep south.