First, allow me to point out to those of you who don’t already know: And Soon The Darkness is a remake of a 1970 British flick by the same name. In the original, we had two English girls cycling through rural France encountering a mysterious man with sunglasses on a moped (hey, it’s Europe). Eventually, one of the girls disappears; the remaining heroine tries to track her lost friend down, despite little to no assistance from a seemingly disinterested local police officer.
In the new 2010 remake, we have two spoiled American co-eds — a slightly conservative blonde (Amber Heard) and a slightly slutty brunette (Odette Yustman) — cycling through Argentina, totally unaware of the enormous amount of kidnappings that occur every year in Latin America alone. After flaunting her bits and pieces to the local lads like cut-rate fish peddlers on a Sunday afternoon, one girl (Odette Yustman) soon wonders why one of the locals tries to rape her. More importantly, this bimbo questions why the stranger in the hotel room next door — the only other white person in the area (Keith Urban’s brother Karl) — didn’t want to have sex with her in the bathroom.
[yes, I’m fully aware that there is no relation between Keith Urban and Karl Urban: I’m joking, people]
Well, a day and some tepid PG-13 swimsuit action later, the promiscuous girl winds up missing. The “good girl” (Heard — who is obviously the more wholesome of the two seeing as how she’s both blonde and co-producer of the film) suspects the white guy is behind the kidnapping (again: both girls obviously missed every warning about kidnappings in Latin America), and contacts the local police officer (César Vianco) — who, in all honesty, couldn’t give a shit less about the predicament or his part in the film.
If you’ve seen at least two other “thrillers” along these lines in your entire life and completely forgot everything that happened in them, then there’s a good chance you’ll be able to predict And Soon The Darkness’ unsurprising conclusion. If you’ve seen the original film, then you will most definitely know what to expect here since there are very few aspects of the original film that have been changed here. At best, the story has been “altered” for modern audiences — thus removing the dark feeling the 1970 motion picture held. Our heroines are thoroughly unlikable (and I suspect the whole project was really just Heard’s way of promoting herself), while “hero” Urban is basically on-hand to show off how many variations a singular bland facial expression there are.
All in all: And Soon The Darkness is a pretty routine thriller from first-time feature-length filmmaker, Marcos Efron (older brother of Zac).
[look, again, I’m joking about Marcos Efron and Zac Efron being related; I know they aren’t!]
And Soon The Darkness starts off looking like it’s going to be another people-chained-up-and-tortured type of film, with gritty brown-ish photography (as we establish that the villain of the story is accustomed to kidnapping young ladies). The middle of the film shows off some of the natural Argentinean surroundings (because everything’s all fine and dandy), while the conclusion takes a turn for the pale side (due to the fact that things suck, naturally). Anchor Bay’s DVD presents all three of these cinematographically clichéd auras quite well, while the disc’s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack (complete with frustratingly formulaic songs) comes through admirably. English (SDH) and Spanish subtitles are included.
Special Features here are limited to an Audio Commentary with writer/director Marcos Efron, editor Todd Miller, and DP Gabriel Beristain (from the Beristain Bears, no doubt — oh, forget it!); several wisely-Deleted Scenes; a Director’s Video Diary (aka “the proverbial behind-the-scenes reel”); and, finally, trailers for this and several other (better-looking) flicks.
In short: sure, And Soon The Darkness is a bad flick — but it goes by really fast if you hit that funny little “FWD” button on your remote.