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In The Dark Half

In The Dark Half

Released 31 August 2012
Director Alastair Siddons

Jessica Barden, Tony Curran, Simon Armstrong, Richard Goss, Georgia Henshaw, Tim Lewis
Writer(s) Lucy Catherine
Producer(s) Margaret Matheson
Origin United Kingdom
Running Time 87 minutes
Genre Psychological drama
Rating TBC

Lighten up.

Psychological dramas – there seems to have been a lot of them in the last decade or so. Not all have been mainstream and In The Dark Half definitely won't add to those numbers but there has definitely been an abundance. I like a good psychological drama, with the build-up of tension, an expected but still rather unexpected twist that you ultimately didn't see coming, and a chilling undertone that sets for a creepy scene all coming to the fore. This ultra low-budget project boasted some of these traits but ultimately fell way short in being something memorable.

Jessica Barden plays fifteen year-old Marie, a troubled teenager living in a small town in south-west England. Things go from odd to disturbing when, under her care, a neighbour's six year-old son unexpectedly dies. While the town lays the blame at the crazy hunter father, Marie, convinced a presence from another world is haunting her, blames herself – not helped by her dysfunctional mother who is intent on being a literal house-wrecker. What ensues is a somewhat unusual journey through grief and the supernatural.

While the performances of the cast are laudable enough, particularly that of Barden, and there was clearly a significant amount achieved on such a scrimpy sum of cash, it remains difficult to escape from the unfortunate fact that this film is a mesh of ideas rather loosely put together. Too much of the plot and narrative is left up to the imagination and assumption of the viewer, but I guess you are at least given time to formulate you're own ideas given the film's distinctly plodding pace.

Given the fact that, being shy of ninety minutes, the film is relatively short, it doesn't exactly bode well that it seems to lack direction. Relying on the supernatural to get you out of actually writing and directing isn't really the ideal way to go about making a film but that almost appears the case with In The Dark Half. On the one hand, it could have been something quite ambitious. On the other, though, it is just another one to add to the collection.

- David Caulfield