Ooh Betty

Michele Dotrice in And Soon the Darkness (1970)

Nurses Cathy (Michele Dotrice) and Jane (Pamela Franklin) head to France for a cycling holiday where Cathy hopes to find some fun with an attractive looking French man whilst they are there. And Cathy thinks she may have met a man when she makes eyes at a scooter riding French man they keep on seeing as they cycle down a country road. But with Cathy tired of Jane telling her they need to keep on riding, Cathy stubbornly decides to rest up for a while whilst Jane carries on. When she reaches the next village a cafe owner tells her in broken English that it is a bad road they have been on and when she returns there is no sign of Cathy just her camera. With no knowledge of the area and unable to speak the language this cycling holiday becomes a nightmare for Jane as she tries to find Cathy.

Whilst I have nothing against elaborate horror movies some times those which are built on a simple and realistic premise can be the best and anyone who has been all on their own in a foreign country, unable to speak the language will realise how effective "And Soon the Darkness" is in its simplicity. It is because of this simple concept that whilst visually "And Soon the Darkness" is dated it is still effective.

Pamela Franklin in And Soon the Darkness (1970)

Now the thing is that with "And Soon the Darkness" being simple there isn't a great deal to say as we have Jane returning to where she left Cathy only to find her missing and as she goes looking for her things becomes all the more desperate as she has to rely on people who she doesn't know. But it has some nice touches such as the woman in the cafe trying to tell Jane that it is a "bad road", not being able to understand anything she says in French which makes it unsettling. There are also the possibilities as to what may have happened as we learn that there is a sex killer in the area and we meet various men from the scooter rider to the man in the field to the guy who screamed past on a motorbike. Basically the premise is simple but so effective because it is believable.

But as I said "And Soon the Darkness" is visually dated and very much a product of the end of the 60s and start of the 70s. From the camera work to the sudden screeches of music it is like being transported back in time. That includes the fashions and seeing Michele Dotrice in short shorts and her top tied up to show off her mid section strangely makes you smile as does her making eye at a man in a cafe.

What this all boils down to is that "And Soon the Darkness" is very much a product of its era and the sort of horror movie which I wonder whether could still get made in such a simple manner. But despite visually being dated the simple premise still works quite brilliantly with lots of intrigue and possibilities to keep you involved and more importantly guessing.

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