Dark Touch | Tribeca Film Festival 2013
French film-maker Marina De Van’s first horror (and fourth feature movie) Dark Touch teaches one lesson: don’t take creepy little girls home. But isn’t that something we already know?
The scary movie wraps its story around Neve, an 11-year-old girl with telekinetic powers. Objects in the gloomy house she inhabits with her family start moving and injuring her parents. A bloody massacre culminates in the death of her baby brother Ciaran, suffocated in her arms. The scared little girl ends up being the only survivor, and as the police suspect a gang of homicidal vandals, she’s adopted by a couple close to her family, the Gallins. Neve is highly antisocial – she rarely speaks and doesn’t allow anyone to touch her; terrible things happen when she cries – objects start moving and breaking, destroying everything around her… A lurking violence soon unleashes itself again, erupting into further slaughter and claiming more victims.
The movie recalls more of the creepy, crawling feeling of Japanese horror than the gore of US slashers. “There is none of the gratuitous violence of a slasher film. The signs are gradual – it’s important to protect the mystery that fuels the film’s suspense and allows the audience’s thoughts and emotions to evolve until the subject becomes clear – as does its pessimistic conclusions. As the film progresses, it provides enough signs so that viewers are not left with a sense of arbitrary, unexplained violence at the end of the story, but instead able to understand fully the reasons for what they have seen,” De Van explains in a director’s note.
However, some elements of Dark Touch remain quite unclear. In one of the very first scenes of the movie, Neve’s tongue is cut and a new one is transplanted: why and how this happened remains a complete mystery. The film is supposed to deal with domestic violence against children and the fact of the very bruised, dead daughter of Neve’s foster family should have been developed further.
The final scenes of Neve are a little too much: assured and unafraid of her powers, bathing in the blood of the Gallins, she is surrounded by candles and cries bloody tears. The name of the flick itself is quite a horror cliché – we’ve seen all things dark: Dark Skies, Dark Shadows, Dark Feed, Dark House…
Nonetheless, after a day or two the film leaves a feeling of satisfaction. Despite its shortcomings, it’s well shot, grimy and, in the end, not that bad.
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