The Darkest (2017) starring Valentin Bonhomme and Claire Suchet. Directed by Robin Entreinger.
The Darkest, a 2017 French film begins with an explanation of Shrodinger’s Cat. I’m no expert on quantum mechanics, (this fact may come as a shock to you) but it’s something about, ‘if two outcomes are possible then they both exist at the same time in separate universes. I know it’s impossible to have two universes because they would both form a larger universe but it’s easier this way. Which means somewhere there is a universe where Ghostbusters 2016 was received with widespread critical acclaim, spawning five more sequels. I’d hate to be one of the poor bastards living in that universe, let me tell you.
Anyways, the movie is about a couple whose relationship is on the rocks, so they go camping to save the relationship, which in my opinion may be difficult seeing as the woman is already having an affair and is scared of the dark, so dragging her cheating ass off to the middle of nowhere with only a small torch for light doesn’t exactly put her in the right frame of mind to patch things up.
Once darkness descends and the couple are entombed in their tent, the woman starts to hear strange sounds…
This film takes its title literally, I haven’t seen a movie this dark since AvP: Requiem, but this time the darkness is used to great effect. There are moments where the movie is just a black screen for minutes at a time, the only sounds are the heavy breathing of the protagonists and a twig snapping or a muffled scream from far off, and if you follow the filmmaker’s advice and watch the movie ‘in total darkness’ by closing the curtains, turning off all the lights and putting your headphones on, it’s pretty freaking sweet. There are times where the couple have no light source and are forced to resort to using the flash on their smartphones, leading to several brilliant jump scares, you know, the well placed ones and not the cheap, lazy ones most filmmakers employ these days.
The characters are great and believable, there’s an amazing scene where the guy has his backpack on ready to go and the girl spends like a minute tying her laces. We learn so much about their individual characters and where their relationship is at just from that one scene, without any dialogue. The characters themselves represent the whole duality thing, the girl is having a relationship with two men simultaneously, while the guy is withdrawn and cold yet takes the girl camping to save the relationship.
The rest of this is spoiler city, because it’s a one hour movie with two characters…
Upon investigation of the strange sounds, the girl sees the murdered bodies of herself and her lover. Turns out the area they are camping in is like a bridge between two universes. Turns out in this universe she had an abortion but in the other universe she kept the child and now the child is on a murdering rampage, but it’s murdering the woman from the alternate universe, not this one, after it discovers her in bed with the lover. Even in the alternate reality, she still ends up having an affair.
This is where my main problem with the movie lies. After forty five minutes of tension, the ending is just lame as the child refuses to kill both versions of the woman, instead asking, ‘Why?’ several times in reference to the affair. The woman offers the child her favourite teddy bear which seems to placate him and the film ends. Being an old school horror guy, I would have preferred there to be a more physical confrontation leading up to the film’s climax. Maybe the woman has to kill the child in self-defence, meaning she ends up killing him in both universes, or maybe the guy has to make a decision to kill the child and save his girlfriend, even though he finds out she’s been having an affair. Or maybe it turns out the lover was the father of the child and not the boyfriend. I dunno, seems they could have gone down more interesting routes if they’d had some kind of physical confrontation or moral dilemma to close the movie.
Still, the movie is low budget and everything about it screams, ‘found footage!’ but props to the filmmakers for avoiding the easy route and making a film on a very small budget.
Worth a shot if you fancy a movie but are pressed for time.
Steve Barnard lurks in the Stygian swamps of South America. He divides his time between scouring ancient jungles for the lost City of the Monkey Children and watching horror movies. Literally any horror movie he can get his hands on. Especially Japanese ones.