And Soon the Darkness (1970)

Article 2890 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-6-2009
Posting Date: 7-12-2009
Directed by Robert Fuest
Featuring Pamela Franklin, Michele Dotrice, Sandor Eles
Country: UK

Two English girls are on a cycling tour across the French countryside, unaware that they may be targets for a killer/rapist.

This thriller is by the director of the Dr. Phibes movies, Robert Fuest. It’s slow to get started, but that’s all right; it’s one of those movies that’s intent on building the suspense for one big release rather than trying for a thrill-a-minute approach. It works because we gradually feel the alienation of the main character; once the two girls get separated and then one of them vanishes, the other one finds herself all alone in a strange country among people who generally don’t speak her language. Much of the movie is in unsubtitled French, but I’m willing to bet the movie is more effective if you don’t speak the language; nothing can leave you quite as on edge as having people talk all around you without being able to understand a word they’re saying. Furthermore, you’re not really sure who she should be frightened of; there are several characters who are acting very strange, and any one of them could prove to be the killer. Fuest does an excellent job of tightening the screws, using both music and silence to increase the tension. You’ll find problems with the plot after the movie is over, but that doesn’t really matter; what keeps you interested is that you don’t really know exactly how events will unfold. Nor will you know whether good or evil will emerge triumphant. All in all, this is one tidy little thriller.


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