The Dark is a 2005 Welsh horror film.
7 out of 10 stars. Very original without the big budget.
Adelle is an artist with a teenager daughter Sarah. Her estranged husband James is living in Wales remodeling an old church that doubled as a home for its preacher. After an argument between Adelle and Sarah spirals out of control and Adelle hits Sarah, Sarah tries killing herself with pills and Adelle barely saves her. In the hopes of mending their relationship, Adelle takes Sarah to Wales to see her father (James).
From the very beginning, there is something deeply sinister about the church/residence of the deceased preacher. It’s been abandoned for decades and we soon discover why–the preacher convinced his entire congregation to throw themselves off the nearby cliff in order to go to heaven (annwyn). Even though Adelle is having some horrific nightmares, she stays at the church with James because Sarah has missed James so badly. But it does nothing to mend their relationship. In fact, it makes it worse to the point that Sarah is behaving recklessly again.
Within two days of being there, Sarah takes off on the cliffs of the beach all by herself and disappears. Adelle sees her shoe floating in the surf and dives off the cliff to try to find her. She can’t and James organizes a search party that searches for two days to no avail. James blames Adelle for some unknown reason. (Poor plotting.) Meanwhile, Adelle is seeing this very creepy girl ghost moving about the house. The girl is named Ebrill and tells Adelle that Sarah is calling for her and she’ll never find her.
Convinced that Ebrill had something to do with Sarah’s disappearance, Adelle shakes her. Ebrill falls and James immediately takes her to the hospital. Yes, at this point the ghost has become a live girl. (Poor plotting.) The doctor tells James that Ebrill has multiple holes in her skull from trepanning, an outdated practice that was supposed to cure illness and mental illness.
So Adelle goes to the town newspaper and looks up the details of the preacher’s mass suicide in 1952. There she sees a photo of the preacher and his daughter Ebrill, the girl she’s been seeing. She returns to the preacher’s church/house and asks Daffyd (David) the caretaker to tell her about the preacher and his daughter. Daffyd tells her that the preacher’s daughter Ebrill was very sickly from birth and eventually died. The preacher couldn’t live without his daughter so he convinced his congregation to commit suicide off the cliff in hopes their sacrifice would bring Ebrill back to life. And it did. Daffyd’s parents were part of the congregation and jumped off that cliff. But Daffyd was a young boy and too scared. The preacher, who didn’t commit suicide, took Daffyd in and raised him alongside the returned-from-the-dead Ebrill, but Daffyd says that something else came back with Ebrill, something dark inside of her. So the preacher repeatedly drilled holes in her skull (trepanning) to “let the dark out”. When he couldn’t, he finally killed himself. That left Daffyd with the evil Ebrill. So Daffyd tied Ebrill up, took her out into the bay in a boat, and dumped her into the ocean.
Adelle assumes that since Sarah’s death brought Ebrill back to life that Ebrill’s death will bring Sarah back to life. So she takes Ebrill to the cliff and jumps. For several days in this dark world, Adelle searches for Sarah and finally finds her being stalked by the preacher. She frees Sarah and Sarah goes back to the living, but when Adelle tries to join her she realizes she is trapped in that dark world (she is dead).
7 out of 10 stars. There were several issues with the film, but it was still worth watching. James’ behavior was odd and not normal for a grieving parent. His anger toward Adelle was unfounded. And the otherworld was kind of lame. But what was really disappointing was the ending. Sarah didn’t come back from the dead. It’s Ebrill in Sarah’s body. So Adelle will be spending forever in purgatory for nothing. 🙁