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in the dark half (2012) review

The outlook of In the Dark Half is bleak from the get-go. The film kicks off when a young teenage Marie, is traumatised by the unexplained death of a small boy whom she is babysitting. Marie’s behaviour spirals into a frantic state, illustrated by her obsessive routines, while she struggles to cognise her conflicted family setting. With references to the occult and ritualist symbols, the film toys with the notion that Marie’s temperament is being affected by something unworldly. As a viewer, I became convinced that she is being manipulated by something sinister, which considering her age and mental isolation, made it all the more heart-rendering. Played expertly by a young Jessica Barden, Marie’s character is a reflection of childhood mental health and the fragility of a child who is trying to deal with it. With the grey clouds of adolescence, an inevitable passage of every child, escalating the sense of angst.


In the Dark Half excels in its simplicity. The minimal scenes and few characters give the viewer little opportunity to become unnecessarily distracted, which compounds the emotional intensity of the story. It had a strong air of the supernatural, demonstrating how tragic events can be assigned to the mysterious and unexplained. In the Dark Half is a classic psychological horror but not so classical in its cash strapped suburban setting, which is only to be celebrated. This realness makes it more relatable, the despair of guilt and grief more genuine when it hasn't been marred by social affluence.


(Photography: Cinema Six/ Matador Pictures/ Regent Capital)


In the Dark Half, 2012 (film), directed by Alastair SIDDONS. UK: Cinema Six




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