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  • Writer's pictureriawoodburn


Updated: May 18, 2020

A Dark Song (2017) is my favourite kind of horror, psychological with a mix of occultism. The premise is promising, a grieving mother Sophie employs the services of a rogue occultist Joseph, to help her bring back her dead son. All which happens in a remote derelict country home, what could possibly go wrong?

Sophie’s exposed grief and desperation for any contact from her young son is certainly impactive. I was never sure if the supernatural interference she was experiencing was real or her own manifestations, born from a need to cling onto anything that could give her hope. What is real however is both the physical and mental exploitation of Sophie by the warped occultist Joseph. Offering strong parallels with a domestic abuser, Joseph’s humiliation of Sophie and complete control over her, in such an isolated setting, is the real horror. You have a sense Joseph is unhinged at the start, which is only set to worsen.

However, I was disappointed with the ending. This CGI conceptionally lead conclusion seemed too much of a visual contrast, to a film that had been predominantly set in a conventional country estate. But the ending aside, the lengths and suffering it took Sophie to get there with her unwavering faith and mental strength, was a triumph.

(Photography: Ffilm Cymru Wales/ Samson Films/ Tall Man Films/ The Irish Film Board)

A Dark Song, 2017 (film), directed by Liam GAVIN. UK: Ffilm Cymru


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