Written & Directed by Marina de Van
Starring: Clare Barrett, Padraic Delaney, Robert Donnelly, and Missy Keating
In a remote town in Ireland, eleven-year-old Niamh finds herself the sole survivor of a bloody massacre that killed her parents and younger brother. Suspecting a gang of homicidal vandals, the police ignore Neve’s explanation that the house is the culprit. To help ease her trauma, dutiful neighbors Nat and Lucas take her in with the supervision of a social worker. Neve has trouble finding peace with the wholesome and nurturing couple, and horrific danger continues to manifest.
I’m sure this film is drawing similarities from Stephen King’s Firestarter and Carrie. Evil parents, check. Insane telekinetic skill, check. The abuse that fuels this film runs deeper and darker than that of Carrie’s confused, but iron-fisted fundie mother. Our tween protagonist, Neve (Keating), lives a life of extreme trauma, forcing her repressed pain and rage; something great for horror characters.
Set in a quaint Irish hamlet, the first glimpse of Neve takes place in dark forest during a thunderstorm. Bloodied and injured, Neve crashes into the arms of her concerned neighbors. The parents shift blame towards their daughter, who has injuries deeper than the surface wounds visible in the forest. Even her infant brother’s yellow and purple bruises. The commitment to a more insidious back story does somewhat remove it from comparisons of the before mentioned King books/movies.
Neve’s parents get their comeuppance in the form of a violently animated home. Furniture crashes, wood screws penetrate bone, all manner of repressed hell erupts. The film doesn’t pull punches, delivering a bone-rending violence only the rage of an abused child could unleash. Neve is taken in by her caring neighbors where she’s unable to adjust to kindness and a loving nature. Things become more and more challenging until one moment of frustration send the rest of the film spiraling.
Dark Touch falls victim to many horror tropes before it ends, but carries itself confidently enough to be a moderate success. I doubt I’ll own this on Blu Ray, but it’s worth seeing. Cinematographer, John Conroy is nothing less than precise in his choice of direction with de Van, setting the familiar horror tale far above similar films. If you can handle the dark subject matter, this is worth the watch. Adjust your bass…