To my knowledge there is but one film featuring Odette Yustman dancing and singing along to the DiVinyls’ “I Touch Myself,”
so if one wants to see that moment, they might have to submit to And Soon the Darkness, a chick-centric remake of a
1970 British film which serves as an entirely credible entry in the canon of doomed-American travelogue tales
The story follows two American girls, Stephanie (Amber Heard) and Ellie (Yustman), who embark on a bike tour through a remote part of Argentina’s countryside. After a long night of bar-hopping, the girls decide to get in some suntanning. They then get into an argument, and
Stephanie heads goes away, to cool off. When she
returns, Ellie has disappeared. The local sheriff seems not very helpful or concerned, and a panicked Stephanie soon meets Michael (Karl Urban), an American ex-pat staying at their hotel. She must then deduce whether one, both, or neither of these men can be trusted as she works to find out whether or not her worst fears regarding Ellie are true.
So, not supremely original, right? True, but director Marcos Efron has a nice sense of pacing, and for the most part knows how to construct a scene so that its menace is slow-building, and not arbitrarily the product of a lot of jump-cuts. Cinematographer Gabriel Beristain also shoots a gorgeous frame, capturing a lot of natural beauty to complement the fantastic curves and bodacious stems of the movie’s two stars. The material itself isn’t that wonderful — either in terms of the dialogue or the eventual “twists,” which are completely obvious from about the 20-minute mark. But Heard in particular gives a solid performance, slotting this little thriller as a credible rental for genre fans.
Housed in a regular plastic Amaray case, And Soon the Darkness comes to DVD presented in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen, with a Dolby digital 5.1 surround sound audio track and optional English SDH and Spanish subtitles. Its bonus features are anchored by a nice audio
commentary track featuring director Efron, editor Todd Miller and director of photography Beristain; they talk about difficulties of on-location production, three hours north of Buenos Aires; Efron also talks up his roots to the material, pointing out that his father was born and raised in Argentina, and would frequently regale him with stories of its wilderness. There’s also an 11-minute video diary featuring behind-the-scenes footage from the set that confirms both Heard’s bilingual skills and the fact that a shot in the film was actually completed on a moving Segway. Oh, and there is also a small collection of deleted scenes. To purchase the DVD via Amazon, click here. C+ (Movie) C+ (Disc)