Lovely, Dark, and Deep (2023)
March 26, 2024 5:24 PM - Subscribe

Lennon, a new back-country ranger, travels alone through the dangerous wilderness, hoping to uncover the origins of a tragedy that has haunted her since she was a child.

I wanted to like this, and I tried to like this, but despite it having a great premise, a good setup, and some piercingly lovely individual shots and sequences, and some good Woods Horror, which I always appreciate, I just couldn't get behind it.

I know FanFare is spoiler-friendly, but this being the first post, spoilers:
When our main character is hallucinating for the back half of the movie, as much as this generates some great imagery and moments... it takes a really magical alchemy of writing and direction to pull this off, and L,D,&D didn't quite have quite enough of either to keep me invested.

When nothing is real, anything can happen (and be happening), and at that point who cares what is happening? Because it might not be!

Once my investment in the character is gone, even the best horror movie just becomes a set of interesting dioramas for me. I think this had all the makings of a really great one, and maddeningly I think it would have been perfectly salvageable if they didn't go whole hog on the "nothing is real" back half and then double down in the last quarter.

Again -- great premise! And I do appreciate a movie that doesn't feel obliged to explain the Bad Guys or come up with Rules and Lore. I love that there was enough confidence to just let what was happening be 'out there'. Little callbacks all the way to the beginning, and hints about what's going on such as that ranger's weird emphasis on "you saved her" after she finds Sara.
So... I'm a bit sad, I guess? This was one script pass and a good conversation away from being an all-timer, I think, but just didn't quite get it together.
posted by Shepherd (1 comment total)
If they had:
-dropped the backstory about the missing sister
-dropped the "nothing is real" interlude
-leaned in to the dark conspiracy thing

This would have been far better. A real missed opportunity.

A bit like the recent History of Evil this is an intermittently well-made movie that seems to have pivoted into horror movie beats without the people involved actually being true believers in the genre... and it shows.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:11 AM on May 16

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