In The Dark Half is not the most imaginatively titled films, nor does it stand out. This is a bit like the film itself. The idea of the film is interesting, as is the acting, and there is nothing particularly wrong or exciting about the film – it just exists, like many other gritty, bleak films.
The premise of the film is the story of a teenage girl (played well by Jessica Barden of Hanna and Tamara Drewe fame) who lives next door to a father and son who have recently lost their wife/mother in believed suspicious circumstances. One night Marie is asked to babysit Sean while his father goes hunting, and unfortunately whilst babysitting Sean unfortunately dies. The rest of the film concerns the growing tension between the neighbours, where Marie starts believing that other forces are at work, and that there is another presence in existence.
It becomes apparent that there are other underlying issues close at hand, as every time Marie speaks to her mother (played by the always excellent Lyndsey Marshal – Being Human/The Hours/Rome) she is always decorating or scraping wallpaper, so it’s difficult not to start questioning why this is the case. The film does have a ghostly ethereal feel to it, and may be billed as a poor distant cousin to The Sixth Sense, but unfortunately, we just don’t really care.
The best thing about this film is the central performance by Jessica Barden, who adds another decent role to her ever growing CV, and it appears she’ll soon be one of our best actresses. It’s also another film role for the hardworking ginger Tony Curran, who seems to be in nearly every film you will ever see!
Other than that a bleak film for a bleak winters night!
Overall Verdict: The film is certainly eerie and atmospheric with lots of creepy winds, but perhaps if the script was tighter, we could have cared more. Instead of being suspenseful, the film just plods along.
Reviewer: Stephen Sclater