Review: And Soon the Darkness DVD

STUDIO: Anchor Bay | DIRECTOR: Marcos Efron | CAST: Amber Heard, Odette Yustman, Karl Urban, Adrianna Barraza, Gia Mantegna
RELEASE DATE: 12/28/10 | PRICE: DVD $26.98, Blu-ray $34.99
BONUSES: commentary, director’s video diary, deleted scenes
SPECS: R | 91 min. | Thriller | 2.35:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1 | English and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Independent film And Soon the Darkness introduces us to Ellie (Odette Yutman of The Unborn) and Stephanie (Amber Heard of The Joneses), a pair of adventuresome American tourists with a penchant for bikinis and tank tops who are enjoying a bicycle tour of Argentina. Their small-town explorations are a lot of fun until the two have a minor spat and separate, arranging to rendezvous the next day for lunch. Well, wouldn’t you know that the flirtier, “wilder” Ellie doesn’t make it for lunch and seems to have, in fact, disappeared?

Searching frantically for her friend and receiving little help from the local authorities, Stephanie receives some aid from a creepy American (Karl Urban, Star Trek) that she and Ellie have previously met, setting the search and story off on an even creepier direction.

A remake of a small but effective 1970 British thriller of the same name, And Soon the Darkness is also a relatively minor movie, which doesn’t quite equal the original in thrills even as it delivers in terms of production values and star power. The tension and ugliness of the film’s final third are broadcast early on and will come as no surprise to those who’ve seen such xenophobic, Americans-in-jeopardy thrillers as Hostel and Turistas.

This movie is far less graphic than those earlier entries, but the atmosphere of the Argentine landscapes and ghost town featured in the film’s climax are well-chosen and effectively presented. And sexy starlets-of-the-moment Yustman and Heard are perfectly cast for this story about young women fighting for their lives in a foreign, tropical environment.

Among the DVD extras is director Marcos Efron’s video diary, an 11-minute piece that functions as a making-of featurette and sheds some light on the ins and outs of shooting in and around the towns and jungles of Southwestern Argentina.

 

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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.