And Soon the Darkness review (Blu-ray)

A remake of the 1970 British film of the same name directed by Robert Faust, And Soon the Darkness is a tense and taut thriller about one young woman's search for her best friend after she goes missing on holiday in a foreign country.

Swapping the charm of the French countryside in the original for the sun-kissed beauty of rural Argentina, the equally as stunning mates Stephanie (Heard, who we've seen a lot of lately in the likes of Drive Angry and John Carpenter's The Ward) and Elise (Yustman) are on the very last day of their South American adventure. Staying at a hotel in an isolated old town, the girls decide to conclude their trip with a loaded night sat in a bar, but it proves not to be the wisest of decisions when they miss their early morning bus ride – thanks to the booze-chugging promiscuousness of Elise – and are forced to extend their vacation by 24 hours. During this period however, Elise goes missing after being separated from her friend as a result of an argument, leaving only her mobile phone and a few droplets of blood as a trace. Stephanie is left to desperately search in what is essentially an alien world, where only a fellow American (Urban) stuck in a similar situation is willing to help her.

I've never before crossed paths with the Brit-flick from 40 years ago and so have no cause for comparison, but purely on its own merits, And Soon the Darkness manages to provide an hour-and-a-half of fluid entertainment, even if it does suffer from a slow start to the action in favour of spending too much time getting to know the central characters. This normally wouldn't be a detriment, but when Stephanie and Elise are the respective sensible/frigid and irresponsible/wild cookie cutters found all too often in horror movies, such over-long character development really doesn't add anything to the film. Nevertheless, Heard's spot-on performance will draw you in to her plight.

While it is certainly flawed with its thinly drawn characters, generic clichés and the occasional scene where you wonder if the writers put anything more than a first draft on paper, And Soon the Darkness remains an enjoyable pill of thrills and tension that looks gorgeous in high definition on account of its exquisitely natural shots of idyllic Argentina.

EXTRAS ? The trailer and a few deleted scenes.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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