An Instructional Video On How To Get Kidnapped In Argentina
1. Be a skinny, pretty white girl. Nobody wants dark meat.
2. Go on a guided tour of the country, but quickly abandon it and strike out on your own with little other than a change of clothes and flip flops.
3. Make sure neither of you speaks the local language.
4. Be condescending as fuck to all of the locals.
5. Hole up in a teeny bungalow. Don't lock the doors.
6. Dress nice and slutty (note: not really, but the film plays it as such), go to the local townie bar and proceed to get hammered. Then, dance all seductive-like with the local boys. Look to The Accused for inspiration, if need be. Remember: Nice girls don't get kidnapped. Slutty girls? You got what's comin' your trampy way.
7. Make sure all of the menacing, dark-skinned men see you slutting it up, because you know the dark folk can't control themselves around the white wimmins. Gets their jungle juices flowing.
8. The next day, stop in the middle of nowhere, in an area you don't know, in a country where you don't speak the language, after almost being raped the night before, and strip down to your bikinis to sunbathe.
9. Then, get in a bickering fight with each other and split up. In your bikinis. Just each of you go at it alone.
10. When lost: Scream. When scared: Scream, and stumble. When confused: Scream, and cry. When looking for someone who you know has been kidnapped by bad guys who are likely hiding nearby: Scream. Whenever you're not screaming, cry or whine endlessly. Oh, and stumble some more.
And Soon The Darkness is a peculiar film. Released direct to DVD, it's a remake of a relatively lesser-known 1970 film of the same name. The remake sticks quite closely to the original, making a few character changes, a location change (it's set in Argentina rather than France), and it's also monumentally stupider.
Here's the thing. I had just written a synopsis of this film, and then I deleted it because a) it was a little too detailed, and b) upon writing it out, I realized just how unbelievably poorly written a film this was. The short version: Two American women (Amber Heard and Odette Yustman) are cycling through Argentina. Yustman's character, Ellie, goes missing. Heard's Stephanie is torn between seeking the assistance of either the unhelpful, vaguely sinister local policeman (César Vianco), or the hunky, vaguely sinister stranger who helped them out the night before (Karl Urban). People get scared, Heard cries a lot, people die, the end.
The writers, Jennifer Derwingson and Marcos Efron (who also directed the film) seemed determined to squander whatever talent was attached to this film, because ay carumba, is it badly written. In addition to being insulting, filled with tacky stereotypes, ploddingly paced, and terribly predictable, it also completely wastes what is clearly a reasonably talented cast. Karl Urban is quite popular in the Pajiba universe, and rightfully so -- he's a solid actor with ruggedly good looks, who can play off noble or menacing-looking with equal ease. Here, he's asked to do a bit of both, but his character is so stock and boring, he's basically sleepwalking. Vianco gives an excellent performance as the bored, unhelpful policeman, except the writing and dialogue are so derivative he may as well have just traveled around with a blinking neon sign behind him that said "ULTERIOR MOTIVE: DO NO TRUST."
But of course, the worst of the lot are Yustman and Heard, who are subjected to every conceivable horror/thriller stereotype imaginable. One of them is the loose-moraled party girl (Yustman), and the other is the shrill, innocent one (Heard). They make every possible mistake you can make when it comes to traveling in a foreign country. It really does play out like an instructional video on everything two pretty white girls should not do if they want to emerge unbloodied and with virtue intact. It's not helped by the fact that literally every Latino man in the movie is filmed with a sort of LECHEROUS: DO NOT TRUST filter, much like Vianco's glowing sign above. Seriously: every male who isn't Karl Urban looks at the girls like they want to take them down to their raping rumpus room and then wear their skins as scarves. It's actually rather appalling. The idea likely was to throw a bunch of red herrings into the mix, except that it's so painfully obvious who's responsible for Ellie's disappearance that all of those herrings don't do anything but stink up the joint.
Look, And Soon The Darkness is a bad, bad film that takes a handful of decently talented and attractive stars and completely wastes their time. In the interest of avoiding wasting your time, I've decided to give you the few good things you can take from it:
1. Karl Urban
2. Amber Heard
3. Odette Yustman
4. There was some very nice cinematography
5. "Cold Soul," by Angie Mattson, played during the end credits. Decent song. Pick up her album, it's not bad. She's got a solid voice, good production, some really cool percussion and beats.
I guess what I'm saying is: find another way to kill 90 minutes.
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