A Dark Song
Director: Liam Gavin
Stars: Mark Huberman, Steve Oram, Catherine Walker
Reviewed by Brian M. Sammons

A modern occult thriller, heavy on the black magic juju, a two-person, one-location pic with a dark, disturbing vibe. Sounds good to me. Low-key, high-concept horror films seem to be in en vogue these days, and I seem to end up liking most of them. Is this another in the win column or the little-heard-of movie that deserves being heard little about? Well grab your big book o’ spells and strip off your clothes (this magic stuff works best when you’re naked…honest) and let’s find out.

A woman hires an occultist, a wizard/sorcerer really, because she wants him to perform some black magic rite for/on her and we don’t know why at the start. All we know is that it will take a long time, be risky, they will have to live together for the duration of the ritual, and at the end of it they will each be granted a wish, whatever they want most.

The film is basically the two strangers getting to know each other, learning secrets about each other (including why the woman wants this wish so bad), and doing all the weird things the spell requires. All the while strange and spooky events begin to plague the couple, increasing in severity and horror as the days pass by. This is basically a two-person story that very well could have been a play as it’s set in one location and largely just one room, so both actors have to bring their A games since they’re all you get to look at for 90 percent of the film. Luckily both of the leads, Steve Oram and Catherine Walker, do exactly that. Their antagonistic chemistry is funny and believable; so is their fear once the spooky starts up. The direction is more than solid and the pacing of everything, while deliberately measured, is more slow burn then just plain slow.

On to the extras that Scream Factory put on this new Blu-ray release. There is an interview with director Liam Gavin that runs just under four minutes, an interview with actor Steve Oram that is six and a half minutes long, another interview with actress Catherine Walker that clocks in at nine minutes, and last but not least an interview with director of photography Cathal Watters that’s just shy of seven minutes. In addition to all that there are a collection of deleted scenes, some storyboards, and the ever-present theatrical trailer. So they might not be the longest of special features, but it’s a nice little group of goodies and a good addition to the film.

A Dark Song is a little gem of a movie. It’s a small story, focusing on two characters over a period of time. It is carried on the shoulders of the two leads. It has good, creepy bits delivered over time that continue to build and build the tension. It is a film about grief, revenge, forgiveness, and ultimately redemption, and it is well worth a watch. Consider this one well recommended.

About Brian M. Sammons

Brian M. Sammons has penned stories that have appeared in the anthologies: Arkham Tales, Horrors Beyond, Monstrous, Dead but Dreaming 2, Horror for the Holidays, Deepest, Darkest Eden and others. He has edited the books; Cthulhu Unbound 3, Undead & Unbound, Eldritch Chrome, Edge of Sundown, Steampunk Cthulhu, Dark Rites of Cthulhu, Atomic Age Cthulhu, World War Cthulhu and Flesh Like Smoke. He is also the managing editor of Dark Regions Press’ Weird Fiction line. For more about this guy that neighbors describe as “such a nice, quiet man” you can check out his infrequently updated webpage here: http://brian_sammons.webs.com/ and follow him on Twitter @BrianMSammons.