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London Film Festival 2016: A Dark Song Review

A Dark Song

By on 10/10/2016

A Dark Song is debut movie from Irish director Liam Gavin is very unconventional in the sense that like many typical Hollywood horror movies like Ouija. The focus of the A Dark Song is on the aftermath of some sort of occult practice or ritual, in this film the focus is on the ritual itself. What results is a slow burn psychological horror that will have you questioning whether the protagonists are experiencing the result of an actual occult ritual or some weird sort of cabin fever.

A Dark Song is a horror movie that works through its tone and character pieces

It’s a horror movie that works through its tone and character pieces rather than from typical jump out scares. Without giving too much of the plot away, it follows Sophia, a grieving mother played by Catherine Walker who contacts an occultist played by the brilliant Steve Oram in order to try an ancient 6 month long occult ritual in an attempt to contact her dead son. In typical Hollywood fashion this would normally consist of a short ritual followed by the remainder of the film being chased by the demon that was unleashed. A Dark Song is a very different animal. The focus of this movie is on the ritual itself which last 6 months of fasting, violence, bloodletting, symbology and a whole host of strange occurrences.

It’s very much a character piece with Catherine Walker and Steve Oram being pretty much the only characters in the movie. It’s their interaction that projects the movie forward (sometimes in very comedic ways). Its these comedic break scenes that draw you into a sense of security which will suddenly follow into the sadistic – this movie will keep you guessing to the very end.

A Dark Song is not your typical horror movie

This is not your typical horror movie. Its not for everyone – it takes a very non traditional route for a horror movie that is more of a character piece rather than a focus on jump out scares CGI and special effects, much in the same way as a movie like Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist. The film will have you thinking for days afterwards

The screening at the London Film Festival

The director Liam Gavin and stars Steve Oram & Catherine Walker were in attendance at the screening. They explained that the 6 month ritual featured in the film was actually a real occult ritual that was once performed by Alistair Crowley, but with many of the chants and speech changed, but the actions the same so not to actually enact the ritual but keep a sense of realism to the movie.

In conclusion

This movie will be of interest of fans of psychological and cerebral horror movies but not for those who are into jump out scares