Movie Review: Darkness Visible (2019)

February 6, 2019

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Our dude Ronnie (Jaz Deol) is well and truly in the soup my creeps! You see, he has to journey from foggy ol’ London Towne to India due to his mother, Suleka (Seema Biswas), going missing before ending up in a Kolkata hospital. To make matters even worse, Suleka gets herself murderized by an apparent kill kult leaving R-dawg with a big ass mystery on his hands as he tries to piece together why his mother returned to her homeland in the first place…speaking of which, signs begin to point heavily to some dodgy murders that just so happened to stop 28 years in the past…you know, when Suleka and bouncin’ baby Ronnie decided to head dear ol’ Blighty way…and now the murders begin again, Ronnie starts to go off the rails on a crazy train…and there just may be a witch involved; because fuck yeah witches!

Darkness Visible, while dealing in familiar horror biz tropes, put’s a unique and exotic spin on the material to create a worlds all of it’s own. Cults, witches, urban legends…these are all things near and dear to our black lil’ hearts, but Writer/Director Neil Biswas (along with Co-Writer Ben Hervey) add much to the proceedings by setting the action in India (not your typical “cabin in the woods” or haunted house here boils n’ ghouls), and offering things filtered through the eyes of an outsider returning to a land he hasn’t been to since he was an infant; Ronnie is as out of his element as we are, and it adds a great sense of unease to the proceedings; and Deol plays the role to perfection as he runs the gamut of concerned son to something darker with equal aplomb.

The above is not the only positive things this flick brings to the terror table however. The ever deepening mystery the film presents is both engaging and provides plenty of escalating suspense, and the cinematography (courtesy of Robby Baumgartner) and color palette on display give things a vibrant aesthetic that contrasts nicely with the grim material at hand. Finally the score by Nainita Desai is an effective blend of traditional Indian instrumentation and straight up fright flick cues that really sums up what this flick is about perfectly.

If I had to cite a negative I would simply say the pacing could have been a tad tighter. The story progresses at a nice clip, and it never becomes boring by any means, but as always a fright flick that runs eighty to ninety minutes usually hits that golden “sweet spot” that leads to many a rewatch. For the record, Darkness Visible clocks in at 107 minutes.

To wrap it up; Darkness Visible is a deft blend of the foreign and familiar that presents us with a hero who discovers the evil within himself may be more than he will be able to resist while traversing a supernatural tinged mystery that is well worth the viewer’s time to suss out!



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