Sunday, February 25, 2024

Lovely, Dark, and Deep - Movie Review

The Movie: Lovely, Dark, and Deep

The Director: Teresa Sutherland

The Cast: Georgina Campbell, Nick Blood, Wai Ching Ho, Edgar Morais

The Story: Lennon, a new back-country ranger, travels alone through the dangerous wilderness, hoping to uncover the origins of a tragedy that has haunted her since she was a child.

The Rating: 6 / 10

The Review:
Teresa Sutherland's latest effort is a moody, slow burn of a horror movie that asks you to be patient as the story slowly unravels layers of mystery. Although the movie is lacking in jump scares, that's not really the point with this story, it's more about a looming sense of dread and inevitability that sends it's main character down a dark path through her own unfortunate past.

That main character is a park ranger named Lennon, played by Georgina Campbell, who you may know from Barbarian, a 2022 horror movie that I have sadly not been able to watch yet. Taking on a new job is never easy, especially when your co-workers know you have some past trauma that they don't fuklly understand although this is Lennon's dream job so she jumps at the chance to take on this new adventure.

The forest Lennon works in has an interesting past filled with unsolved disappearances including one from Lennon's own past which of course means she will be drawn straight into the darkness of the story ahead. Her journey is pretty typical of what we've seen in similar movies and I didn't really feel like this story added anything new to the ideas being explored here. Thankfully, Sutherland knows not to draw things out and keeps the run time under 90 minutes which I think is perfect for this type of story.

From what I understand, the movie was filmed in Portugal which made for some really beautiful backdrops and loads of forest filled scenery to work with. The way Sutherland portrays the darkness of the forest in such a subtly sinister way just adds to the inevitibility of Lennon's journey. You know where she's heading so it's more about the psychological aspects of getting her there which is what both Campbell and the director herself realy focus on and that's where the story is most effective.

I think it's worth noting that this is Sutherland's first feature film as a director to go along with two previous short films and, based on this effort, I'd love to see her continue to explore this type of storytelling. I also want to shout out to Nick Blood, who you may recognize from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Wai Ching Ho, who has years of great work under her belt and is also part of the MCU having played Madame Gao in the Netflix Daredevil series. Both are great in their supporting roles in this movie as well.

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