LOVELY, DARK, AND DEEP
Starring: Georgina Campbell, Nick Blood, and Wai Ching Ho
Director: Teresa Sutherland
This film has been reviewed by Nick, Paige, and Quentin as part of Bitesize Breakdown's coverage of the 2023 Fantasia International Film Festival.
To its credit, Lovely, Dark, and Deep is beautifully shot. The use of light and darkness to build tension and highlight the unknown of back-country wilderness at night is tremendous, not to mention some terrifically unsettling drone shots of the mountainous landscapes. That said, despite a psychological thriller tone and sense of dread that work completely, the actual story is flimsy. This is superficial horror built on imagery and vibe alone, and by the time everything is hurriedly explained in a short exposition dump at the end, nothing really resonates. Plus, every time English-actor-doing-an-American-accent Georgina Campbell says “park ranger?” Nails on a chalkboard.
Lovely, Dark, and Deep was one of my most anticipated films at this year's Fantasia Fest (see HERE), so that likely factored into how disappointed I was with it. First, the good… it features some beautiful scenic shots and haunting imagery. Unfortunately, that’s about it, and without a cohesive story to display those aspects, they fall rather flat themselves. Georgina Campbell is fine, but does nothing to overcome the script, while the hurried resolution at the end is far too little and far too late to make up for the rest. Here's hoping for a better sophomore effort from director Teresa Sutherland.
Lovely, Dark, and Deep certainly isn’t a picnic in the park, as the film captures the atmospheric mysteries of venturing alone and getting lost in the forest. With eerie soundscapes and disturbing imagery, aka a shit ton of swirling treetop shots, the film displays promising work from first time director Teresa Sutherland. That said, the second half of the film goes off-trail a bit with its maddening and aimless direction, but at least Georgina Campbell gives a terrific performance throughout.