LOVELY, DARK, AND DEEP (2023) Review by Steve Kirkham



3 stars
Blue Finch Film Releasing. Digital Platforms. Out Now

LOVELY, DARK, AND DEEP opens intriguingly, as a park ranger doesn’t report in as normal on the radio – rather he wanders off into the wilderness, leaving a note “I owe this land a body”. Thus setting up the central basis of the story, of folks going missing in the vast expanse of Arvores National Park (actually shot in Portugal). This place has a history of disappearances.

This does however leave a job opening which is filled by Lennon (Georgina Campbell) who takes up her new posting of three months in the middle of nowhere, deep in the foreboding forest, with no mobiles phone or the comforts of home. She is eager to get started, as she has a personal agenda, as her younger sister went missing there some years before. She is, however, somewhat fragile mentally and is soon going against all the rules in a search for who knows what.

Of course something is weird in the woods in this folk horror with cosmic leanings, as strange things start to occur. Why are so many people going missing? What is out there? Is what she is seeing real or imagined?

Georgina Campbell is strong in the lead role and is making a name for herself in genre outings – see BARBARIAN (2022), BIRD BOX: BARCELONA and T.I.M. (Both 2023).

Creepy and unsettling at times, this psychological horror makes good use of sound to create atmosphere aided by the moody music by Shida Shahabi. Writer/Director Teresa Sutherland has made a nightmarish movie, making excellent use of the location to emphasise the isolation though things do go a bit off the rails by the end.

The film has similarities to the recent Joe Lo Truglio film OUTPOST – which was also about a woman out in the middle of nowhere.

Steve Kirkham