Review | Dark Places (2015)
- Directed by: Gilles Paquet-Brenner
- With: Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Christina Hendricks
- 113 Minutes
For those who know the writing style of Gillian Flynn, the adaptation of Dark Places is a large bucket of cold water where little or nothing works … A dark book dominated by a deranged narrative in which satanic rituals are the starting point for a massacre in which an entire family is murdered. As in other novels by Flynn, in Dark Places it’s easy for the reader to feel trapped in an endless mystery conducted through macabre discoveries and revelations of cruel and unjust characters … The well-being is something that does not exist in this alternate world that leads us to a time when most isolated populations viewed with suspicion and fear the development of satanic cults.In this rural environment, guided by a main character who finds herself in this world as an accessory, we follow the story of the Day family or more precisely the massacre that victimized them.On the one hand we have Libby, the younger sister, and Ben, the only boy that was arrested and considered the only suspect of the massacre … Three deaths were the ultimate result of a stormy night of blood… The truth about what happened?That is the reason that will lead us to wander in the history but, in this film by Gilles Paquet-Brenner, the claustrophobic experience of Flynn’s writing is converted into an emotionless thriller and that leaves much to be desired.
Set in a farming town in Kansas, Dark Places follows Libby Day (Charlize Theron), the only surviving witness of a horrific massacre that took her mother and sisters. Believing the slaughter to be the work of a Satanic cult, Libby testifies in court against her own brother. 25 years after the murder, she remains haunted by the gruesome violence of her past when she meets a group of amateur investigators who call themselves ‘The Kill Club.’ Looking to satisfy their morbid curiosity, the group begins their own inquiry about the case, believing Libby’s brother innocent. In order to help them, Libby must unearth painful memories of the event, and learn that her past may not be what it seems.had hitherto as true … revealing a totally new reality. [Synopsis: IMDb]
Faced with relevant questions about the massacre that killed her family, Libby Day finds herself confused and muddled amid uncertainties that hitherto viewed as truths. A character who inspires little confidence and who sees a reduced purpose in her life is then forced to return to the past in a trip to the dark places she never wanted to visit again.Even though Theron’s talent is notable, Flynn’s work is not easily adaptable due to complex characters whose personality is filled with dark and interesting details, which ended up leading to poorer version of Libby Day thanks to the lack of confidence and transparency on the demonstration of emotions and feelings. The Libby in this adaptation is kinder and does not reflect the traits of the character that Flynn described in the book, leaving aside part of the book’s potential.As for Ben, Lyle and Diondra, there are times when these seem full transcripts of Flynn’s pages and times which appear static and too cold, as if they were indifferent to the events.This was the aspect that disappointed me the most: a poor character development ended up messing a different and particularly terrifying story that brings to the world part of men cruelty.
As for the story, it remained almost intact, with no customizations, but the short argument ended up leaving aside relevant pieces of Flynn’s narrative that led us to know a little more about the characters’ background and about the day of the massacre. Dark Places culminates as a thriller that does not provide any kind of satisfaction, displaying all the events as if all that cruelty was common. Perhaps because the adaptation was not the most appropriate one or because it is complicated to bring to the screen this particular story, Dark Places doesn’t seize its potential and falls by the wayside, becoming a disappointment for those who saw the adaptation of Gone Girl. Here there wasn’t room for emotion and reflection … The macabre and dark environment that Flynn presents us was exchanged for a heavier course and there key moments of the narrative missing. Even if it’s not a disaster, it is a poor adaptation of a cruel and devastating story that left me emotionless from start to finish, losing all purpose and qualities of GillianFlynn’s writing.