And Soon the Darkness (1970)

And Soon the Darkness (1970)

“It’s murder — the most unpredictable of crimes.”

On a bicycling trip across the French countryside, two student nurses (Pamela Martin and Michele Dotrice) part ways temporarily after a quibble — but soon Martin learns Dotrice has gone missing, and she is unsure whether or not to trust a young man (Sandor Eles) who claims to be an amateur sleuth.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Horror
  • Mysterious Disappearance
  • Road Trip

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that if “Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda convinced hippies not to cycle through America’s South” in Easy Rider, then Martin and Dotrice “should convince young women not to bicycle through the French countryside — particularly if a sex maniac is on the loose.” He argues that while “certainly this thriller is no gem,” it “has some suspense and titillation, and, as always, Franklin is a sympathetic heroine-in-jeopardy.” Indeed, not too much happens in this slow-moving film about a couple of naive young travelers who really should have learned a bit more survival-French and decided on a safer route through unknown territory. With that said, director Robert Fuest generates a fair amount of tension through creative framing and pacing, and we’re left wondering until the end how plucky Franklin will get herself out of the mess she’s landed in.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Pamela Martin as Jane
  • Fine direction and cinematography

Must See?
No, but it’s worth a one-time viewing.


2 thoughts on “And Soon the Darkness (1970)

  1. Agreed; not must-see. As per my 3/29/20 post in ‘Revival House of Camp & Cult’ (fb):

    “I come here every year – since it happened, anyway.”

    ‘And Soon the Darkness’: Just prior to bringing us Vincent Price in ‘The Abominable Dr. Phibes’ and ‘Dr. Phibes Rises Again’, Robert Fuest directed this, um… thriller. If you check IMDb, ‘ASTD’ gets a lot of raves there. I now wonder why. …Except that whatever real merit the film has (and there definitely is *some*) is probably thanks to its director. Essentially this is a whodunit – and, if you’re a fan of the s-l-o-w-burn, this may be for you anyway. …Maybe. But, as a thriller, the film doesn’t begin to take itself seriously until the midway point. Before then, there’s more than a fair amount of implausibility and a little bit of stupidity. (Would anyone bike their way through an almost-deserted French countryside without even knowing how to say “Parlez-vous anglais?” The two cycling British lasses here only seem to know how to say “Compris?” and “Gendarme.” Not only that… if you’re the only French-speaking British woman in the area and you’re assisting a distressed young girl, would you just drop her off somewhere and leave… without waiting to see if someone at the destination is actually *there* and also speaks English?!) What’s most fascinating about the second half (its misleads aside) is seeing how often Fuest is effective in pulling off tension. Luckily, he pulls off more of that than might be expected. …Starring Pamela Franklin, who is still with us but left the film industry in the early ’80s.

  2. ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2 out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    I don’t think this is must see because it’s a minor film, but I do think it’s extremely good. A really creepy, effective horror film that makes splendid use of silence and bright, summery daylight settings with maximum menace.

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