Eli Roth's "Hostel" and Josh Duhamel's "Turistas" were among our guilty pleasures. They had gratuitous violence, but they were also well made and took us to Slovakia and Brazil, respectively. But who knew that before they made oodles of money at the box office, another film beat them to the genre by 30 years?
"And Soon The Darkness" was a 1970 French and British co-production which follows the eventful backpacking holiday of a couple of British girls cycling at the south of France. Fast forward to 2010 - a remake was made. This time around, 2 American girls are on a biking trip in a remote Argentine town. When they missed the only bus that could take them across the border to Paraguay the next day, they decided on exploring the small town, populated by unfriendly folks who turn away when asked. While enjoying the sun beside the waterfall, the girls got into a fight. Stephanie (Amber Heard) left her friend Ellie (Odette Yustman) - big mistake! By the time she realized their petty quarrel, she went back to fetch her, but Ellie was gone!
Australian actor Karl Urban soon joins the familiar narrative to help thicken the plot, but we soon find out that his character Michael (who earlier lost his girlfriend Camila) is almost inconsequential. In fact, it was easy to dispose of him, without much emotional investment.
I wasn't aware that the Argentine suburbs are an unfriendly place, as depicted by the story. The narrative runs on the premise that both local and foreign girls are kidnapped, then sold to Paraguayan dealers as "slaves". The film has well appointed locations (the "dead town" which looked like it had been devastated by a tsunami, and completely abandoned by its locals), but the story feels relatively incomplete - or ultimately, unsatisfying. Karl Urban's sexy pout could have been spruced up a bit instead of being an absolutely useless cad. Shame he looked like the perfect protagonist.
Odette Yustman was recently seen in the hit comedy "You Again" (Sigourney Weaver & Jamie Lee Curtis). It's easy to see why she's a movie star. Even at her high school, she was Homecoming Queen.