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Hold the Dark (2018)

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After the deaths of three children suspected to be killed by wolves, writer Russell Core is hired by the parents of a missing six-year-old boy to track down and locate their son in the Alaskan wilderness.

Director:

Jeremy Saulnier

Writers:

Macon Blair (screenplay by), William Giraldi (based on the book by)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Beckam Crawford ... Bailey
Riley Keough ... Medora Slone
Jeffrey Wright ... Russell Core
Michael Tayles ... Clerk
Issac Bird Issac Bird ... Yup'ik Teen
Joseph Whitebird ... Yup'ik Man
Zandus Snow Zandus Snow ... Yup'ik Boy
Julian Black Antelope ... Cheeon
Alexander Skarsgård ... Vernon Slone
Conor Boru ... Corporal
Anabel Kutay ... Iraqi Woman
Emmanuel Imani Emmanuel Imani ... Medic
Tantoo Cardinal ... Illanaq
Clarence Hoof ... Yup'ik Prayer 1
Savannah Bird Savannah Bird ... Yup'ik Prayer 2
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Storyline

Retired naturalist and wolf expert Russell Core journeys to the edge of civilization in northern Alaska at the pleading of Medora Slone, a young mother whose son was killed by a pack of wolves. As Core attempts to help Medora track down the wolves who took her son, a strange and dangerous relationship develops between the two lonely souls. But when Medora's husband Vernon returns home from the Iraq War, the news of his child's death ignites a violent chain of events. As local cop Donald Marium races to stop Vernon's vengeful rampage, Core is forced on a perilous odyssey into the heart of darkness. Written by Netflix

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

TV-MA | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 September 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hold the Dark See more »

Filming Locations:

Calgary, Alberta, Canada See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Atmos

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39: 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Hold the Dark is the first film Jeremy Saulnier directed without also having written the screenplay. See more »

Goofs

Slone shoots Cheeon from the upstairs window but as he falls we see a burst of blood erupt forwards from Cheeon's shin. Nobody was in a position to inflict such a wound. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Medora Slone: [in her letter] Dear Mr. Core, three days ago my son Bailey was taken by wolves. This happened twice already here. No one in the village will hunt them, and I am alone here now. I have read your book. I know you have done this before. In my heart, I know that you are able to do it now. I do not expect you to find my son alive, but you could find the wolf who took him. Come and kill it to help me. I know you have sympathy for this animal. Please don't. My husband will come home from ...
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Soundtracks

You'll Lose a Good Thing
Written by Huey P. Meaux and Barbara Lynn (as Barbara Lynn Ozen)
Performed by Lou Ann Barton
Courtesy of New West Records
By arrangement with Sugaroo!
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Jeremy Saulnier's Latest Is Also His Weakest
29 September 2018 | by CinemaClownSee all my reviews

After establishing himself as one of the most promising talents working in the film industry today with two back-to-back cinematic gems, Jeremy Saulnier hits a snag with his fourth feature film and delivers his first dud with Hold the Dark.

The story unfolds in a small village in the Alaskan wilderness and follows a writer who's summoned there by a young woman to hunt & kill the wolves that took her son, only to find himself in the middle of a vengeful rampage being carried out by the boy's father.

Directed by Jeremy Saulnier (best known for Blue Ruin & Green Room), Hold the Dark begins on a promising note, creating the required intrigue & mystery but it all fades away as the muddled plot goes a tad too awry. The viewers are given nothing to latch on to and the story wanders with no sense of direction.

Though the story teases with a feral angle, the mystery remains a mystery, leaving behind more questions than answers. The threads are left loose, not much material is provided to connect the dots, characters aren't fleshed enough to make us care, and whatever Saulnier was aiming for, he falls short by a considerable margin.

The only thing working in the film's favour is its dark atmosphere. Reeking of death & dread, the aura is that of an omen and it is well sustained from start to finish. The smart camerawork, desolate locations & grim score bring an uneasy feeling of their own into the mix. Yet it all amounts to nothing thanks to its convoluted structure.

Its slow-burn narrative makes its 125 minutes runtime feel twice as long. There are many scenes that don't add up and it's all emotionally distant. There is a shootout segment that will stand out for most but even that ends up overstaying its welcome. As for the ending, it's bound to leave many viewers baffled, frustrated & unsatisfied.

The violence the film has in store is brutal & unflinching just like the director's past features yet they don't leave much of an impact. Performances range from good to garbage and in a cast starring Jeffrey Wright, Alexander Skarsgård & Riley Keough, it's James Badge Dale who shines. Macon Blair also has a cameo and it's awful.

On an overall scale, Hold the Dark is a slow, meandering, overlong, blank & boring mess, and is undeniably Jeremy Saulnier's weakest film to date. A shoddily scripted & poorly executed thriller that brings the director's creative momentum to a sudden halt, Hold the Dark is an unexpected misfire that may require another viewing for a final verdict but for now, it is an absolute disappointment.


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