Best Horror Film of 2017? A review of "A Dark Song"
by, 04-20-2017 at 06:02 PM (14 Views)
A determined young woman and a damaged occultist risk their lives and souls to perform a dangerous ritual that will grant them what they want.
"A Dark Song" is already being praised as one of the best horror films of 2017. While it is always good to be skeptical about such hype or buzz, especially when it is coming out of the film's own PR machine, in this case it just so happens to be true. This film is bound to make it on to many best-of lists for the year.
What makes the film brilliant is its two main characters, who we (the audience) are never quite sure about. We have a woman with ambiguous motives and purposes, and this uncertainty only adds to our curiosity and the film's suspense. Even when we find out why she is involving herself in the occult, we are only given half-truths, and more layers are left to be unpeeled.
In contrast, we have a dubious leader for this cross-dimensional experiment. C. S. Lewis famously said that Jesus was either the lord, a liar, or a lunatic. While this man is no savior, the same three categories could apply to him. For much of the film we do not know if he is a lord (authentic), a liar (charlatan trying to get money from a mark) or a lunatic (someone who thinks they have powers but clearly does not). This uncertainty is what drives us to keep watching, to see if he can deliver on his promises... and how, along the way, we see how shady he just might be.
The dark, ominous score is perfect, and for a film with a modest budget we still get some creepy effects (such as a dead dog). The creators made a film the way a film ought to be made: within the boundaries allotted without over-reaching or stretching yourself too thin.
Most of all, the praise should go to the excellent writing, which not only provides the two great characters, but really captures the occult. Not that I claim any real knowledge of black magic or the dark arts, but everything here is done so well, so convincingly that it seems like it could be real. And that is about the highest praise a script or fantastic film can receive.