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A DARK SONG Blu-ray Review

In the first fifteen minutes of A Dark Song I wasn’t entirely sure that this slow burn indie horror movie from Ireland was going to work for me as the narrative takes it’s time introducing me to the two main characters and setting up the framework for the intriguing horrific elements the narrative promises in a leisurely manner and then shortly after that things begin to unfold one after the other that kept me more and more engaged with what was unfolding before me. That is the strategy that works very well for director Liam Gavin’s directorial debut. It’s the way he lets things unfold scene after scene with two characters in a minimal setting with a minimal budget and a ton of imagination. There’s so much atmosphere and world building that permeates throughout this story as Sophia (Catherine Walker) goes to extravagant lengths to get occultist Joseph Solomon (Steve Oram from Sightseers) to help her with a very difficult ritual detailed in a Kabbalistic grimoire called the Ambrelin to potentially reconnect with the lost love of her life. The big risk with a movie that builds the way this one does is the chance of their not being the payoff that it promises, but this movie not only becomes more and more delightfully otherworldly as events take their course, but ends up delivering in such a rewarding way for those who choose to go along for the ride.

There’s an interview in the bonus features on this Scream Factory disc with the director where he mentions his influences that include Japanese horror like Dark Water, French extreme films and American classics like The Exorcist and in retrospect it all makes total sense. This movie is solely relying on mood and mythology building that wouldn’t be out of place in a movie like Ringu or Ju-on and out of nowhere there will be shocking and revolting things that happen that invoke the brutality of something like Inside. What was even more surprising is the fact that the Solomon character who isn’t very likable at all started to show glimpses of desperation and redemption that didn’t justify his unsavory methods but shed some light on it and to a degree started to become a bit sympathetic.  A Dark Song took a little while to hook me in, but once it did I had a really great time with it and loved how it went into insane and surreal territory that you’d normally find in the work of Lucio Fulci.

Next to The Devil’s Candy, this might be my favorite independent horror movie of 2017. I highly recommend you seek it out.

Synopsis

Two broken souls. An unholy alliance.

Grieving Sophia (Catherine Walker) despairs over the tragic loss of her murdered son. Desperate to somehow make contact with the boy she has lost, Sophia believes her prayers are answered when she crosses paths with the reclusive Joseph (Steve Oram, Sightseers). An expert in the occult, Joseph reluctantly agrees to aid Sophia through a series of dark and forbidden rituals in order to bring her child back to the world of the living. Pushed to their physical and psychological breaking points, Sophia and Joseph make a disturbing descent into the most depraved corners of black magic.

The debut feature from rising horror auteur Liam Gavin, A Dark Song sustains an air of quiet, creeping dread, tensely building towards a confrontation with evils unknown to our earthly bounds.

Bonus Features

  • Interviews With Director Liam Gavin, Actors Steve Oram And Catherine Walker, And Director Of Photography Cathal Watters
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Storyboards
  • Theatrical Trailer

The Author

Sean McClannahan

Sean McClannahan

Sean McClannahan is a freelance film journalist and is the founder of Movie Time And Beyond. His passion for movies and pop culture knows no limits.

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