Forgiveness Is A Virtue: A Review of Liam Gavin’s “A Dark Song”

Occult horror has made an excellent comeback in recent years. From the 70’s homage “The House of the Devil” to the gruesome tale of self-destruction that is “Starry Eyes”, occult horror is taking over independent filmmaking in a big bad way. Independent distributors such as IFC Midnight and Scream Factory have been assisting in this resurgence in occult films and I couldn’t be more excited. So when “A Dark Song”, the directorial debut of Liam Gavin, landed in my lap I found myself extremely intrigued. Would we have another hit on our hands or can we just chuck this to the back of the shelf to never be seen again? Let’s see!

When her seven year old son, Jack, is murdered by a group of teen cultists, Sophia (Catherine Walker) hires occultist Joseph Solomon (Steve Oram) to summon the grieving mother’s Guardian Angel. The two go through a series of dark and sadistic rituals that pushes each of them to their physical and psychological limits. Sophia and Joseph make a disturbing descent into the most depraved corners of dark magic. A descent that needs to be seen to be believed.

What I was expecting when I put this film on was a sadistic story dealing in black magic that saw every character reach a grisly demise. That wasn’t what I got. What I got was a powerful tale about how far a woman will go for her son; a tale about the beauty of life and what is truly important. I don’t want to go much further plot wise because this film is an experience, go watch it now!

Let’s talk cast! There are only two main characters in the entire film, Sophia and Joseph and in order for a movie like this to work you need these two actors to be perfect. Catherine Walker and Steve Oram do not disappoint. You truly feel the heartache experienced by Walker. You want her to reach her goals, which I can’t expose here. Oram, however, is horrifying and dirty in the greatest way possible. He plays Joseph in such a way where you’re second guessing his motives with every twist and turn. In a film that could’ve fallen flat, these two truly pulled it together.

Since it’s distributed by IFC Midnight and Scream Factory, you know it’s gonna be packed with extra content. Included are lengthy interviews with the director, actors, and DP. There’s also multiple deleted scenes. Honestly, this is one of those films where I would’ve loved a commentary track; a bit disappointed in that regard. It’s a great disc regardless.

As I’ve stated in multiple reviews already, IFC Midnight has been hitting it out of the park! From “The Devil’s Candy” to “68 Kill”, I just can’t get enough. Well add this to the list now! Just know, you’ve never seen a film like this before. It’s not what you’re going to be expecting. Go in with an open mind and leave with a changed heart.

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