Marie (Jessica Barden) is a young girl struggling to cope with a major loss. When the neighbour’s son she is baby-sitting dies under her care she fears that a mysterious force is coming for her. An uneasy relationship with the neighbour (Tony Curran) forms as they both try to come to terms with their grief.
In the Dark Half is a tricky one. The direction is solid and both Curran and Barden give great performances as two people who have suffered a great deal. The weak link is the plot itself as a half-explained mythology about spirits in the woods becomes ever more prevalent and tedious. The film is a strange mix of the surreal and the boring, the confusing and the bland. Perhaps it was striving to be enigmatic but got stuck with simply never quite making sense.
By the film’s end I was truly frustrated. The plot involving a child’s death had reached a ridiculous crescendo involving an Action Man figure and Marie’s own story ends with a plot twist so inconsequential as to be completely redundant. Plot twists should make you reconsider every moment of the film you have seen not simply make you shrug with indifference. I left the screening frustrated and let down.
Your cut out and keep summary:
In the Dark Half is filled with superb performances and its strong direction creates a truly unsettling atmosphere where you are always sure that something isn’t quite right. What lets In the Dark Half down is its core plot, which never quite makes sense, and the film’s plot twist which felt unnecessary and changed absolutely nothing about the story up to that point.