Libby Day was only eight years old when her family was brutally murdered in their rural Kansas farmhouse. Almost thirty years later, she reluctantly agrees to revisit the crime and uncovers the wrenching truths that led up to that tragic night.
Libby Day is a lifeless woman who survived the massacre of her family in their farmhouse in the countryside of Kansas when she was eight. She's been living on donations and lectures ever since. Thirty years ago, the police believed that a satanic cult was responsible for the murder of her mother and two sisters, and her brother Ben was convicted with her testimony in court. Today, however, an acquaintance, Lyle Wirth, invites Libby to visit "The Kill Club", where amateurs investigate famous crimes, and she finds that they believe Ben is innocent. Libby needs money and, in return, accepts to revisit the slaughter of her family and comes up to the painful revelations and the ultimate truth.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Production/Reception Problems Don't Nearly Sink This One (Despite Their Best Efforts)
A few years ago, Gillian Flynn's novel "Gone Girl" was turned into a film that received Academy Award consideration. While I won't go so far as to say that "Dark Places" is quite as good as that one, there must have been something going on behind the scenes in the production that really hampered its marketing. It doesn't nearly deserve the terrible reputation it is receiving right now.
For a basic plot summary, "Dark Places" tells the story of Libby Day (Charlize Theron), a woman still haunted by the memory of a childhood incident in which her brother murdered the rest of the family...or did he? Down to her last dollar and no longer able to exploit public sympathy, Libby hooks on with a group of murder investigators/enthusiasts led by Lyle Wirth (Nicholas Hoult), who pay her to re-examine that infamous past night. The lead-up to the massacre is told in flash-backs, featuring Ben Day (Tye Sheridan & Corey Stoll) as the supposed killer and mother Patty (Christine Hendricks) as the mother hanging on by a thread. What really happened that night? That won't be determined until the final memories begin falling into place.
To me, "Dark Places" matches up pretty favorably with "Gone Girl" (I actually liked this one even better as a book than I did "Gone Girl"). They both have a pretty respectable cast (even Chloe Moretz has a key role in this), they both feature a psychological thriller/mystery at the heart of the narrative, and both are thoroughly entertaining from beginning to end.
So, why did "Gone Girl" soar while "Dark Places" puttered out? There seemed to be very little advertising for "Dark Places", it premiered in very few theaters, and came to home video right away. There is also a sense (while watching the film) that the production value isn't quite as good as maybe it could be. Not overly detrimentally to the experience, by any means, but also not quite as polished as "Gone Girl". It felt a little bit cobbled together and stunted when it could have been just as great and nuanced as its Flynn-inspired predecessor.
Overall, though, "Dark Places" is a pretty solid movie that (for whatever reason) gained such a bad reputation that it flopped early and often. If you enjoyed the book, though, I think you will like this one just as much. Don't be scared away by a few bad reviews and some terrible score markings on other websites...it isn't nearly that bad!! Had some of the kinks been worked out of it, it could have been a lot more well-received.
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