Lovely, Dark and Deep

Lovely, Dark and Deep
Original title:Lovely, Dark and Deep
Director:Teresa Sutherland
Running time:87 minutes
Release date:Not communicated
Lennon, a new park ranger, journeys alone through the dangerous wilderness, hoping to uncover the origins of a tragedy that has haunted her since she was a child.

Mulder's Review

Lovely, Dark, and Deep is an entrancing and thought-provoking addition to the horror genre, serving as writer/director Teresa Sutherland's auspicious directorial debut. The film stars Georgina Campbell in the leading role, known for her previous impressive work in Barbarian. Her portrayal of Lennon, a park ranger with a haunting past and an intimate connection to a national park shrouded in enigma, is nothing short of captivating.

One of the film's undeniable strengths is its ability to transform the natural setting into a character of its own. Set in a national park with a sinister history of unexplained disappearances, Sutherland's direction, paired with the cinematography of Rui Poças, breathes life into the woods. It exudes an unsettling sense of claustrophobia within the vast wilderness, where the sheer beauty of nature becomes overshadowed by its menacing potential.

The movie takes viewers on a journey into the unknown, paralleling Lennon's experiences as she confronts eerie shadows in the night and disconcerting encounters during daylight hours. While the script occasionally dips into dream logic, the film's potency lies in its ability to reimagine the woods as a space where no one can hear your cries for help. It channels the fear of the wilderness and the great unknown, evoking a sense of dread akin to classic horror films like The Blair Witch Project.

Georgina Campbell's performance as Lennon is an absolute standout. Her portrayal of a character tormented by both her past and present experiences in the forest delves into the intricate and unsettling psychological aspects of her persona. It's a performance that tugs at the audience's heartstrings while simultaneously sending shivers down their spines.

As the story unfolds, Lovely, Dark, and Deep taps into the fear of the unknown, painting a sinister narrative where the forest seems to harbor malevolent secrets. The echoing sounds in the woods, the lurking sense of an unseen presence, and the notion that anything might be concealed within its depths create a palpable sense of unease. Sutherland skillfully weaves psychological horror with the inherent dread of the wilderness, presenting an experience that is both unique and profoundly unsettling.

The film's visual style is particularly noteworthy. Rui Poças' cinematography plays a pivotal role in crafting the movie's eerie atmosphere. The incorporation of rotating and upside-down shots adds to the overall sense of disorientation and fear. These visual elements, combined with the excellent performances, guarantee that Lovely, Dark, and Deep will leave a lasting imprint on those daring enough to venture into its shadowy and enigmatic world.

While the film's final act may leave some questions unanswered and leans into a surreal aspect, it remains a compelling and thought-provoking contribution to the horror genre. Sutherland's ability to blend psychological horror with the fear of the wilderness and the unknown is a breath of fresh air in a genre often dominated by more traditional horror elements. It challenges the audience to contemplate the blurred line between reality and dreams, all while navigating a world where the eerie and the beautiful collide.

In a genre saturated with typical horror tropes, Lovely, Dark, and Deep manages to stand out by offering a unique and atmospheric viewing experience. It delves into the unsettling potential of nature itself becoming the antagonist in an isolated, enigmatic wilderness. The film's penchant for cosmic horror elements and its blurring of the line between reality and dreams add depth to the narrative, ensuring that it lingers in the viewer's mind long after the credits roll.

Lovely, Dark, and Deep is a visual and psychological tour de force that deserves recognition as a superbly crafted and thought-provoking horror film. It may not provide all the answers, but its ability to evoke a sense of existential dread in the viewer makes it a standout addition to the genre, and a testament to Teresa Sutherland's promising directorial debut.

Lovely, Dark and Deep
Written and directed by Teresa Sutherland
Produced by Josh C. Waller
Written by          
Starring  Georgina Campbel Nick Blood, Wai Ching Ho, Maria de Sá, Mick Greer, Soren Hellerup, Ana Sofia Martins, Edgar Morais, Ivory Lee Smith, Paul S. Tracey, Raquel Rocha Vieira, Celia Williams
Music by Shida Shahabi
Cinematography : Rui Poças
Edited by Alexandra Amick           
Production companies : House of Quest Films, Woodhead Creative, QWGmire
Distributed by XYZ Films (United States), Blue Finch Films Releasing (World)
Release date : NC
Running time : 87 minutes

Viewed on October 30, 2023 (press screener)

Mulder's Mark: