A cursed house, a harrowing journal and a restless spirit. RICHARD PHILLIPS-JONES investigates time-shifting ghost story The Darkness 2020.
Title: The Darkness aka Dorcha
Released: 3rd May 2021 (UK digital platforms)
Starring: Amelia Eve, Katherine Hartshorne, Cyril Blake, Adam Bond, Jo Hart, John Sugden, Michelle Archer
Director: Tharun Mohan
Writer Lisa (Eve) and entrepreneur David (Blake) head to Ireland for a break in the house which David has recently inherited. Lisa is hoping for motivation to get working on that difficult second novel, but gets more than inspiration when she comes across the journal of Niav (Hartshorne), a former resident of the house whose sinister demise has left its mark on the property.
Lisa uses Niav’s writings as the basis for her latest work, but the diarist’s presence begins to make itself manifest as her harrowing tale is revealed and has a marked effect on Lisa’s behaviour. An increasingly disturbed David finds an unlikely source of help in discredited priest George (Sugden), who knows well the dark secret held by the house and its grounds: It’s a secret which is closer to home than David suspects…
As its tale unfolds, The Darkness jumps back and forth between the present day and earlier times as depicted in Niav’s narrative and the period portions of the film (beautifully shot by Ariel Artur) are especially striking: There’s a nice overall look to the production that emphasises the greens and browns of the surrounding woodland to great effect and the darker moments that reveal Niav’s fate are a particular highlight, pulled off very effectively.
Whilst it doesn’t necessarily break any new ground (indeed, it wears its influences proudly on its sleeve), The Darkness sets out simply to provide a solid hour-and-a-half of creepy entertainment. It fully understands the expectations of the audience it’s aiming for, ticks all the right boxes and blends its familiar ingredients into a generally enjoyable confection.
An additional story thread around possible infidelity perhaps overeggs the pudding a tad but nonetheless The Darkness is a well-executed and visually arresting ghost story. Fans of the form will find plenty to enjoy and, here making his debut feature writer/director/producer/casting director/location manager Tharun Mohan (who clearly isn’t shy of putting a shift in) will certainly be worth keeping an eye on in the future.
The Darkness is released to UK digital platforms by Reel2Reel Films on 3 May 2021