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"A Dark Song" Reviews/Discussion - 2022 Horror Challenge

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"A Dark Song" Reviews/Discussion - 2022 Horror Challenge

Old 09-26-22, 10:01 PM
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"A Dark Song" Reviews/Discussion - 2022 Horror Challenge

A Dark Song (2016)

Selected by Trevor

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These "October Horror Movie Challenge" threads are for the discussion of the films in the 31 FILM SUBSET list.

The plan is for everyone to watch this film on the October day in the thread title, and to start discussing it the morning of the following day.
You may start discussion early if you want, but the preferred plan is for this to be as much of a group exercise as possible, with all of us viewing it "together" and discussing after.

Of course, you are totally encouraged to participate in these threads even if you haven't watched the movie on the designated day.
Even if you haven't watched it in years, or are not participating in the Horror Challenge, please feel free to chime in.

Spoiler tags aren't always used in here, so if you have yet to see the film BEWARE OF POSSIBLE SPOILERS.







Last edited by Chad; 09-26-22 at 10:24 PM.
Old 10-08-22, 03:52 PM
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Re: "A Dark Song" Reviews/Discussion - 2022 Horror Challenge

I thought this was pretty good. I liked much of the setup and preparation, but it started running out of steam for me. Then when it was over, I had one of those "that's it?" feelings. I don't mean to trivialize forgiveness. It's a powerful thing, and I hope for her sake that she'll be able to use it on herself because it seems like she should feel a bit guilty for killing a guy and losing your finger. It just felt a bit empty in the end. It's one that I might revisit years from now and have a much deeper connection with.
Old 10-30-22, 12:11 AM
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Re: "A Dark Song" Reviews/Discussion - 2022 Horror Challenge

I thought this movie was motherfucking fantastic. Never heard of it and probably wouldn't have given it a thought had it not been on this list. But damn...loved it.

The only issue I had was the accents and sometimes muffled speaking was hard to make out, so I found myself straining my ears to catch or understand every word. I also thought the masturbation scene was unnecessary.

I truly loved the way the black magic was handled. I personally don't believe in the stuff, but this has to be the most realistic take I have ever viewed in a movie. What they are doing is not something you get from a Ouija board or lighting some candles around a table while chanting for 10 minutes. This shit would and should take some work...and boy does this movie show that! I was mesmerized the entire time from the start to the finish.

I loved the absolute sincerity the character of Joseph brings to the table. If he wasn't believable and absolutely resolute in everything he was doing, then this movie completely falls apart.

I also loved the score and the ending. Definitely not what I was expecting which was a nice change.

This movie reminded me a lot of Midsommar (2019) where, while watching it, you just have a feeling of impending dread and uncomfortableness the entire time. This movie will sit in my head for a long time exactly like that one did.

My rating: ****1/2 out of *****

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jholmes (10-30-22)
Old 10-30-22, 04:45 PM
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Re: "A Dark Song" Reviews/Discussion - 2022 Horror Challenge

The artful gradual buildup is rich and the two leads excell. I like how the ending takes a far out supernatural premise and makes for a relatable downright reasonable life advice to seek forgiveness. Dark Song is a tragedy but does not gets lost in bloodshed or 'darkness' and has a refreshing redemption arch.

I enjoyed the serious black humor like when I kids voice says that it's just using the son's voice to confuse and exploit or the man makes her strip so he can please himself.

We need more mystical seeming horror and those thoughts add a supreme atmosphere to the film.
Old 10-30-22, 08:04 PM
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Re: "A Dark Song" Reviews/Discussion - 2022 Horror Challenge

This is free on Plex
Old 10-30-22, 09:14 PM
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Re: "A Dark Song" Reviews/Discussion - 2022 Horror Challenge

I liked this movie so much the first time I saw it that it is one of my top 5 favorites on letterboxd. I love how realistic the occult in this movie is. It's not Hollywoodized or Halloween-ized, it is real esoteric ritual. Not that I'm an expert on gnostic rituals, but this feels like the sort of not-pretty, not-easy, hard-core grind that real rituals would require. Whether that's to open your mind, cause hallucinations, or what have you. I also like that for much of this movie, you're not sure if Joseph Solomon really knows what he's doing or if it's all a sham.

Rewatching it today, I still feel the same. And man, the appearance of the guardian angel at the end is so spectacular and awe-inspiring. And I love that she realized, as the very end, that she doesn't want the darkness and despair of vengeance, but instead wants to be able to forgive.

But I have some questions -- if "teenagers" are the ones that took her son for "a ritual", who is the old woman she sees with her dead son?
And Solomon's death--why? Was it truly a "price" for the ritual or for messing in the occult or pure misfortune? I thought it was interesting that he believed so much that they were truly no longer in the world that he wouldn't let her go for help even though he knew he was dying. That's definitely a test of faith!

He was a right bastard, but his death was really sad. I wish I could tell exactly what he'd said in bed the night he died, but my stupid blu ray doesn't have subtitles (I hate that) and I couldn't quite make it out. I think he was just talking about the power he'd once wielded, sort of a self-comfort brag because he knew he was dying. But I'm not sure.

I read one review that said that Solomon had been behind the son's disappearance in the "ritual" and that Solomon's dying was the fulfillment of Sophia's vengeance. But I don't think so. Because the power of the ending is that she let go of her need for vengeance, which loses its power if she was already avenged. And the test/subtext to me doesn't imply that Solomon was involved in the boy's death.

He's a great character. So well written. You'd have to be sort of a strange, anti-social, egotistical, and nerdy person to get this deep into the occult. I love that it was just about pure knowledge for him, not power. Still wondering about why he's ask for angel for invisibility. Maybe he wanted to escape having to pay the price for the rituals he'd done in his life, which is perhaps why he died.

Still one of my all-time favs.

Last edited by jholmes; 10-30-22 at 09:22 PM.
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Old 10-31-22, 08:36 AM
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Re: "A Dark Song" Reviews/Discussion - 2022 Horror Challenge

I really love the build up and the interplay between the two lead characters. A fascinating immersion into the black arts. I liked the 3rd act much more this watch.
Old 10-31-22, 09:15 AM
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Re: "A Dark Song" Reviews/Discussion - 2022 Horror Challenge

Thanks for putting this on the subset list. I thought it was very well done, and yes, the gradual buildup is very effective. I particularly appreciated showing the (slow) process and the changing relationship between the characters. And yes, the impending dread.
Old 10-31-22, 09:25 AM
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Re: "A Dark Song" Reviews/Discussion - 2022 Horror Challenge

If this wasn’t on the subset I probably never would have watched it. I was into it for a while, but found myself losing interest. Still glad I watched it though.
Old 11-01-22, 09:58 AM
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Re: "A Dark Song" Reviews/Discussion - 2022 Horror Challenge

Yes, I really love this one. The slow buildup takes us through the mundane parts.
Old 11-01-22, 05:59 PM
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Re: "A Dark Song" Reviews/Discussion - 2022 Horror Challenge

With the voice of Sophia's son asking why she was with someone instead of picking him up I got the sense that the power of forgiveness that she sought was for herself. Great interplay between the main characters and the music provided an ominous tone. Regarding the ritual...
Wrongly considered an error, director Liam Gavin chose not to depict actual parts of the ritual and asked artists to change all symbols out of superstition and respect for the process.

Yeah, I would not have messed with that either.
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