Oh, how advertising pays off. I was surfing around on the internet when I happened to see a trailer for a movie playing in the sidebar of the page I was on. The name of the movie caught my attention and I decided to give the trailer a go. After watching the trailer for A Dark Song, I was hooked and had to see the movie. Come to find out A Dark Song is an Irish independent horror that came out April 2017 and it’s Liam Gavin’s directorial debut. A Dark Song was released on April 28, 2017, to select theatres and on digital streaming platforms, then on September 5th, 2017, it was released on Blu-ray.
Here’s what you’re getting into with A Dark Song. Sophia, a grieving mother, and Joseph, an occultist, lock themselves up in a house in the countryside of Wales to perform a dangerous ritual to summon Sophia’s guardian angel. The ritual is a grueling process that can take months to perform, during which neither of them can leave the house under any circumstances. If the ritual is successful, the angel will appear and both Sophia and Joseph will be granted what they want. If something goes wrong, all those bumps in the night they’ve been hearing… could be coming for their souls.
Writing the description for A Dark Song was kind of hard. There’s so much I wanted to put in there, but I was afraid it would give something away and ruin the story. So, I went as bare bones as I could with the description, but the story is so good. Writer/director Liam Gavin came up with a complex story that takes place in a very simple setting. Now, a few parts of the movie take place outside of the house, but for the most part, you’re locked away in the house with Sophia and Joseph. Between personal desire, isolation and the grueling tasks performed during the ritual, Gavin sets two people up to go on a twisted and torturous journey. There are so many moments where you find your self-asking is any of this real or is all of it real? Something else that makes Gavin’s story so great, to me, is I kept thinking about the movie after it was over. I kept spinning on certain scenes and debating what really happened in that house. I love when a movie can make that kind of impact on me because I watch so many movies at a time that most of them tend to blend together at the end of the day, but not this one.
The playthrough was amazing. The story starts off a bit slow as everything is being set up, but your interest is peaked as you try to figure out what Sophia is up to. Once both characters are inside the house, you’re hooked and questioning everything that’s happening as the story unfolds. I can’t say A Dark Song was scary, but there were plenty of times I was seriously creeped out. What made those creeped out moments so good was the subtlety used during those scenes. Instead of just throwing a “monster” right in your face like some films, A Dark Song went with little things happening either in the background and sometimes even straight forward with “Oh, look a monster’s calmly sitting there watching you eat”. It was the anticipation during some of those scenes that made the movie scarier than just watching someone being attacked out right. The entire movie is a slow burn filled with doubt and curiosity. All said and done, A Dark Song was highly entertaining.
Now, the cast line-up is pretty small, to begin with, but most of the movie centers around Catherine Walker (Dark Touch), Steve Oram (The World’s End) and Nathan Vos. There are times when you feel bad for Walker and Oram’s characters and others when you seriously can’t stand either of them. Both Walker and Oram did an amazing job with their characters and the chemistry between them was great. I can’t imagine anyone trying to pull off this movie without the chemistry they had because the movie would’ve failed.
I thought the special effects looked good and blended into the scenes really well. Most of the effects are practical, but there is a bit of CGI here and there. Something else that caught my attention was the cinematography by Cathal Watters. Watters’ steady hand captured some haunting moments that pushed the visuals of the movie to an even higher level.
If you get the Blu-ray version of A Dark Song, here are the bonus features that come with it.
Interviews With Director Liam Gavin, Actors Steve Oram And Catherine Walker, And Director Of Photography Cathal Watters
Overall, A Dark Song left a mark and I won’t be forgetting about it anytime soon.