Desperately Seeking Sarah

A few nights back we sat down to view a movie about which my wife had read a decent write-up. The Dark was located in the horror genre. It featured Sean Bean who invariably puts in strong performances, although in this one as James he was shaded by Maria Bello playing Adèle.

Unlike much from recent horror industry output The Dark did not rely on the power of special effects but opted for the earlier methods of inducing fright. There were lots of things going bump in the night and appearances of spectral forms to cause the heart to miss a beat. There were times during it when I felt a shiver not only go down my spine but shudder right through me.

Adèle, who has been living in New York, decides to travel to Wales, where her daughter’s father James is a sheep farmer. Apart from the animals his sole companion is an unfathomable shepherd who tends to the flock while the reclusive James takes time out to paint. By making the trip to Wales Adèle hopes to bring some stability to Sarah’s life and remove the turbulence that has adversely affected the mother-daughter relationship.

First signs were ominous and when sheep almost knock Adèle into the sea as they leap like lemmings to the waves below, it does not dawn on her that sheep should not behave like the cliff top departing rodents. If there was a moment to consider a return flight to New York it was then. From that point on fortunes and some other things begin to plummet.

The endeavour to achieve family harmony was destroyed within days when Sarah was lost to the sea. 60 years earlier there had been a mass suicide performed on the hill from which Sarah fell to her death. A deranged but manipulative preacher had persuaded his equally deranged but more gullible congregation that beyond the waves lay the afterlife. At one time the preacher owned the farmhouse where James now lived.

From this point on the film is peppered with the anguished wails of ‘Sarah, Sarah’ from a desperate mother. Sarah’s father leads the hunt for his daughter’s body. Strained by anguish that he had not been at her side when she was lost he wanted to be there for her when she would be found. Tension builds up between him and Adèle because she sketches apparitions while he searches the sea. Their previously traced separate paths continue to diverge.

The mother, clearly unable to come to terms with the loss, retreats into a spooky world where conjuring up people long since dead focuses her mind. She learns from the annals of Welsh mysticism of the supposed existence of a place called the Dark. There she convinces herself is the location of her lost daughter.

When she discovers the sickly teenage Ebril in her daughter’s bed, Adèle becomes convinced that Ebrill knows where her daughter is and how to get her back. Undaunted by being told that Ebrill drowned many years ago, had returned but brought something back with her that was best left at sea, Adèle persists in her quest. But the legend of the Dark is that it only allows a person to be returned in exchange for another. It is clear where the story line is heading.

The film can be hard to follow particularly towards the end. I was never quite sure who made up the living and who were dead. The scenes became so interchangeable that it became impossible to say if they were in the Dark or in the farmhouse.

A viewable if confusing movie there are enough chills and frights throughout to keep the horror aficionado on board to the end of the journey across a dark stretch of unyielding currents determined that what they have they hold.


  1. If ya think thats scary Anthony wait till the next elections when ya may get a visit from Mickeyboy canvassing, ya will really crap yerself ..

  2. Marty,

    you are so hard on him! As long as he doesn't join the rest of them leaping off the top of the Cavehill, like the sheep in the film, because great leader told them a united Ireland was at the bottom of it!!

  3. sheep and a sheep farmer- thats a flick for marty

    if i knocked martys door come the elections him and me would go around the rest of the home's

    is it a long drop from cavehill AM-
    as long as the war or the long peace.

  4. Michaelhenry,

    sure is a long drop. Like the war and everything else - to use the words of Leonard Cohen, a long way down. I think if you and Marty went round the houses people would throw you both out and demand peace!

  5. Ahem Anthony,I,m a peaceful loving man and I,ve the scars to prove it,and as we all know the cavehills other name is Naps nose and thats fitting here in relation to Mickeyboy and election canvassing on behalf of psf because like that other famous proboscis i.e on Pinocchio, Naps neb on the cavehill is massive to.if I was to accompany our Mickeyboy around doors it would only be to apoligise for the bullshit they had to listen to. mind you having said that I,m hopeful that come the next elections that both Mickeyboy and our Robert will have awakened to the real world and join the rest of us in the search for real peace with real justice, nothing really scary in that.

  6. Mackers, I think what we are all desperately seeking is a place to hide.
    The great leader has put the United Ireland ideal on hold.
    In true Calvin style logic, it will only come about in the next life and only those who have accumulated vast empires can apply to get in.
    Which does not really fit with O Muilleoir's theory, that the church at one time conspired with the Brits to keep republicans out of everywhere. Wonder did that include Heaven?

  7. I forgot to add, Mairtin came out with that conspiracy theory when challenged about his emergency selection onto the Water Board.

  8. Nuala be very careful what ya say about Mr Millar ,the way things are going we will be living on water

  9. Marty, too late. I actually wrote a letter into the A/Town congratulating him on his 'Water Board' speech and told him, that although being ripped off was a common theme in the lives of us common people, I felt that after reading his write up about himself and his associates I almost felt honoured to be ripped off by them!
    For some unexplainable reason the letter did not get to print.

    Not to grumble though! After all those nice people from the Water Board, decided to give up the chance of ultra-plush offices to integrate with the common people.
    Aaaah, that just renews any faith we had lost in humankind.

  10. Nuala,

    TPQ will always print letters others want suppressed

  11. Mackers, TPQ is an incredible chink their armor!

  12. Mackers, how old is that film?
    I vaguely remember watching a film like that and being absolutely confused or maybe it was the Sinn Fein election broadcast, as I sort of remember thinking about jumping over a cliff!

  13. Nuala,

    about five years I think

  14. Dont recommend jumping of cliffs Nuala they tend to leave a bad taste in your mouth.

  15. Mackers, yes I did watch it or rather partially watched it. Much too deep for me, Albert said he enjoyed it, however, as he tends to be like Father Jack on a Sunday night it is hard to pin down what he meant by that.

    Marty, spot on as per usual, sort of changed my mind about the cliff for the very reasons that you have pointed out.

    On a change of subject, I hear you cook a very good spaghetti bolognese?

  16. Not to sure about you and Anthony hon but maybe Albert would enjoy my culinary concept spaghetti au master mc grath in a rich cranberry sauce,or should I get my special friend who is a trained chef and is a natural blonde to rustle you up a wee taster, give thoes wee tounges something new to lash at and I,m sure the big girl would enjoy the treat

  17. Anthony
    I think north Belfast has enough problems without the faithful taking a leap of Napoleons Nose somehow the spin doctors would pull the Humpty Dumpty theory and say they were pushed.

    Fortunately they are not so popular in north Belfast perhaps depth perception is not necessary as PSF took a greater leap into the abyss of British politics.
    The only problem with that is the party entered in at the kindergarten level facing off against the well seasoned masters in the devious halls of Westminster.


    Instead of canvassing how about you round up a few of the faithful and convince them to post here it would be interesting after all the PQ has an open door policy.

  18. O Millions appointed to the Water Board? I wonder how long before the Andytout News calls for the water boarding of Republicans.

  19. Marty,

    "I,m hopeful that come the next elections that both Mickeyboy and our Robert will have awakened to the real world.."

    You sound uncannyingly like the character Orpheus from the Matrix.

    I heard that you recently surveyed one hundred women and asked them what shampoo they used when showering...

    98% of them said..
    "How the f@*k did you get in here!"