Both versions of And Soon the Darkness (isn’t that a great title, by the way?) tell the story of two young female friends who go on a cycling holiday abroad, and get into trouble when they fall out and end up separating.
In 1970 we join Jane and Cathy, two young nurses, on holiday in France. The practical and level-headed Jane – played by an excellent Pamela Franklin who I saw recently in The Innocents and The Legend of Hell House – wants to cover as much ground as possible. The spontaneous Cathy (Michele Dotrice of Some Mothers Do Ave Em fame) wants to chill out, relax, meet the locals, have fun!
It’s this personality clash that causes the girls to have a tiff and go their separate ways, and it’s at this point that it all goes tits up.
Far from home, only able to speak a few words of the local language, Jane must try to find her friend.
Move the whole thing forward 40 years, make the girls Americans in Argentina, bung in Johnny Depp’s girlfriend (Amber Heard from All the Boys Love Mandy Lane), add in some human trafficking and you’ve got yourself a remake.
While the original is atmospheric with a sun-bleached look that makes the scenery seem unforgiving and harsh, the remake has a glossy sheen which makes the whole thing feel very different. It’s just a little vapid and lacking in soul.
I have to say that, although I saw the remake first (I didn’t actually know it was a remake until afterwards), I much prefer the original. The story, setting and style as well as the performances just worked a bit better for me. To be honest, and I’m not against remakes per se, I’m not convinced this one was necessary.
Score: original 8/10
Score: remake 4/10
Watch the original movie here. You can watch the remake on YouTube too but if you have that kind of time to waste I’ll let you search for it yourself.