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Half Light (DVD)
Member Name: GentleGenius
Half Light (DVD)
Date: 30/08/11, updated on 30/08/11 (86 review reads)
Advantages: Mysterious, nicely spooky, Demi Moore's acting, beautiful scenery, a few good twists
Disadvantages: Confusing here & there, resembles other films, poor acting from some of the cast
RELEASED: 2006, Cert.15
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 111 mins
DIRECTOR/WRITER: Craig Rosenberg
PRODUCER: Simon Franks
MUSIC: Brett Rosenberg
Demi Moore as Rachel Carlson
Henry Cusick as Brian, Rachel's partner
Kate Isitt as Sharon, Rachel's friend
Hans Matheson as Angus McCulloch
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Rachel Carlson is a successful writer, living in London with her little boy and her partner, Brian. Rachel's house is by the towpath of a canal, and one day whilst she is busy writing, her little son wanders out of the garden gate (which Rachel accidentally left unlocked), falls into the water and drowns. Racked with guilt and finding it almost impossible to complete her latest novel, Rachel decides to take herself off and spend some time alone living in a remote Scottish fishing village.
Once settled in Scotland, Rachel familiarises herself with the not unpleasant, but rather distant locals, and is both intrigued and unnerved by a woman who claims to be a psychic, telling her (Rachel) that the ghost of her little son is beside her all the time.
Whilst living in the cottage yet still finding it difficult to write, Rachel not only suffers from disturbing nightmares and waking ghostly experiences, she also makes good friends with the local lighthouse operator, Angus McCulloch, and the pair spend a lot of time together.
As the storyline progresses, taking some unexpected twists and turns, Rachel finds herself in a position whereby she isn't sure what is real and what isn't.
That sets the scene, and of course to learn more you must watch it for yourself.
Right from the start, I became deeply absorbed in Half Light. I always feel the first ten or so minutes of a film are extremely important in that they can immediately draw you in, or leave you floundering...sometimes even cold, maybe not wanting to continue viewing, but Half Light straight away lends an intrigue that held my attention admirably.
When the film shifted to Rachel moving to Scotland, my attention was gripped further by spooky happenings, a deep sense of mystery and some breathtakingly beautiful scenery. I was also very impressed with Demi Moore's commendable characterisation of the grieving, guilt-ridden Rachel. I hadn't expected too much from Demi as despite her probably being best known for her role in the movie Ghost, she isn't an actress who I've ever found to be all that special or inspiring. However, in Half Light, she truly comes into her own and it's by far the best role I've seen her in to date.
Whether they were real or fake, I loved the gentle, lilting northern Scots accents of the locals in the fishing village, but none of those characters' parts are significant enough to make a judgment on their overall acting abilities.
Hans Matheson plays the part of the mysterious young lighthouse keeper, Angus McCulloch with flair, but I was very disappointed with the performances of Henry Cusick as Rachel's partner Brian, and Kate Isitt as Sharon, her friend. I found their delivery to be wooden, unnatural and not at all convincing. They injected little or no inflection into their voices and it sounded as if they were reading their lines from an autocue. In this particular film, it was above everybody else, Demi Moore who shone right out, carrying pretty much the whole thing on her shoulders...and admirably so, too.
One very commendable thing about Half Light is that there are a couple of very good twists, one of them being borderline outstanding. I can't really go into any detail about those twists, as it would count as a spoiler, suffice to say that one or two things turn out to be not how they initially seem.
Despite enjoying Half Light very much, and aside from the dodgy acting from Henry Cusick and Kate Isitt, there are a few little niggles I could take issue with. Firstly, I found the musical score to the film to be far too loud, to the point where it drowned out some of the dialogue spoken by the actors. Also, I felt it largely unsuitable for this sort of film as it came across as emotional and gushy, whereas I think something laid-back and creepy-sounding would have been far more appropriate. When the film was about two-thirds through, there were a few sizeable chunks where I felt confused as to what exactly was happening and why, plus I feel that the ending - once the delicious handful of twists had been exposed - was tediously predictable. I'm not quite sure how else the ending could have been, but I'd have preferred something different, more challenging and more thought-provoking.
Half Light does slightly remind me of Don't Look Now in the early part of the film, and in some other parts there is some similarity to the Irish psychological thriller film, Dorothy. There are also marked differences between Half Light and those two other films, but the similarities are strong enough to not be ignored. The early part of Half Light, when Rachel first travels to Scotland, made me wonder if the storyline would be similar to The Wicker Man, but thankfully it turned out to be completely different....that's not a criticism of The Wicker Man, as it's one of my all-time favourite films, but I prefer it when movies don't resemble one another too much.
All in all, and still taking the niggles into account, Half Light is an extremely riveting and entertaining, quite spooky in parts film that I'd like to watch again at some time in the future. I always find 'ghosty' type stories far more scary than monsters, psycho-slashers etc., and it is true that Half Light has its fair share of creepy moments, especially during the build-up. If you enjoy a good thriller/mystery which contains some scary/creepy elements and more than one unexpected twist, then this could well be something you'd be interested in, warts and all. I'd even go as far as to say that it's worth watching just to see Demi Moore most definitely in her element.
At the time of writing, Half Light can be purchased on Amazon as follows:-
New: from £2.60 to £12.00
Used: from 52p to £9.99
Collectible: Only one copy currently available @ £4.99
A delivery charge of £1.26 should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
Summary: A very entertaining, enjoyably spooky film, despite its faults