FilmHorror Movies

Film Review: Lovely, Dark, And Deep

If I were asked to define the ‘fear of getting lost’, I would only need to point towards supernatural backwoods horror LOVELY, DARK, AND DEEP. Written and Directed by Teresa Sutherland (writer of 2018 festival favourite THE WIND), the film captures you and whispers in your ear: “Where will you hide if the whole forest is the very thing that is chasing you?” 

For lovers of the great outdoors or those like me who crave something new to be scared of in the deep dark woods, the film has arrived on U.S. VOD from XYZ Films. LOVELY, DARK, AND DEEP turns vast rural landscapes into inescapable haunted spaces. 

Park Ranger Lennon (Georgina Campbell) has finally reached her desired ranger role at a remote outpost in Arvores National Park. Her job is mostly solitary, with only the wilderness accompanying her, but the woods have a sinister presence. After a hiker goes missing, Lennon is eager to help but is sent on a nightmarish journey that explores the tragic backstory connecting her to this place.

Lennon is passionate about her environment, and we can see why with mesmerising shots of where the sky meets the treetops or the rocky hills from above. But as stunning as these sweeping aerial shots are, don’t expect them to give you a respite from that uneasy feeling we all know and love. Their dizzying and kaleidoscopic way of acquainting us with our surroundings ensures we are just as disoriented as Lennon. The expanse of the backcountry gives us no comfort of freedom. 

Georgina Campbell (breakout star of BARBARIAN) is once again an excellent horror lead, but with this film, she brings us a character we can get invested in; her performance ensures we are just as lost and scared as the film protagonist helping LOVELY, DARK, AND DEEP nails all its horror notes.

Why are the lost never found? Where do they go? This added layer of suspicion is nicely laid out by Wai Ching Ho and Nick Blood as senior park rangers, who propel Lennon to seek answers. As a narrative, LOVELY, DARK, AND DEEP is constantly intriguing, its concepts thought provoking well after its end. Just in case you’re wondering if you’ll be lulled into more of a mystery-thriller, there is plenty of blood, some of it dripping down trees. 

Throughout the middle, LOVELY, DARK, AND DEEP  does employ some sequences typical of pretty much all supernatural horror films. However, these are unavoidable- some imagery is a trope for a reason. It just comes with the territory. But on the whole, this didn’t make the film any less captivating.

The haunting original score of LOVELY, DARK, AND DEEP also stood out to me. It is not only ominous in itself but also in its seamless integration. It keeps up the continuous unsettling atmosphere and ensures the audience never feels at ease in the woods, not even for a second. There are horror film scores that make you roll your eyes,  but luckily, there are ones that fix them to the screen.

I noticed the title referencing the innocent enough Robert Frost poem ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’. However, Sutherland turns the somewhat romantic couplet: “the woods are lovely, dark and deep/and I have promises to keep” into a chilling concept for a wilderness horror film. LOVELY, DARK, AND DEEP is available now On Demand in the U.S

“keeps up the continuous unsettling atmosphere and ensures the audience never feels at ease in the woods, not even for a second”

5 tombstones out of 5
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Erin Grant

Erin Grant

Erin has been writing about films for Fear Forever since 2017; to say she is passionate is an understatement. You can find her in Sydney, Australia, where she lives on a steady diet of horror movies whilst perpetually being in the middle of a film degree.
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