BY ROMEY NORTON NOVEMBER 16, 2023
They Wait in the Dark plays on emotions of hopelessness and desperation, building the never-ending sense of dread, as our characters go deeper into darkness. It’s a gruesome tale that will play with your expectations, as the film looks into what abuse can do to a person emotionally and physically.
They Wait in the Dark is a chiller-horror film which comes from award-winning writer/director Patrick Rea (I Am LIsa), and stars Sarah McGuire (The Stylist) as our protagonist Amy. Amy is a mum fleeing with her son Adiran from her abusive partner Judith, and seeks refuge in an old farmhouse where she grew up. Here she encounters something more terrifying than she could have imagined when a supernatural force attaches itself to Adrian. Not only do they have to battle the forces inside the farmhouse, but Judith hunts the two down adding to the serious, intense threat.
There is a real insight into toxic-parenting, and the deep rooted analysis of how your upbringing affects our adult life. This is done in the movie by gathering four mothers — two murdered, two murderous, one of whom is a revengeful spirit — into a twisted tale of abuse and revenge. All focusing on the female interpretation, the stereotypical caregiver we all think of as a mother and see from Amy escaping with her son is twisted into something to be feared as Amy’s darkening moods and volatility grows and we learn more about who and what she is. The spirits, when we see them, are created with real prosthetics and props, not CGI which I always appreciate as it boosts the imagination!
The acting is to a very high standard, Laurie Catherine Winkel (Father of the Bride) plays the not to be messed with ex Judith, and her compelling performance is scarier than the supernatural. Sarah McGuire plays a damaged and emotionally tormented woman extremely well, and her scenes of being attacked and agonised by the spirits are believable. These compelling performances make this film worth watching, as I didn’t see the end coming.
There’s a mixture between unsettling and classical-atmospheric music used throughout, which really drives the scenes. The cinematography is quite beautiful in places, with kind lighting and well designed sets, with little conversation these details help build and intensify the story.
With unexpected twists towards the ending, over-all the story-line is effective, and enough suspense is built to keep you interested and intrigued. It’s a great attempt at merging the supernatural with real life conflicts such as toxic parenting and domestic abuse. Without giving too many spoilers, the title They Wait in The Dark is a great reference to your inner demons coming out when you least expect it. With a short runtime of one hour and twenty-five minutes this horror-chiller is one to invest in if you’re wanting a film to send serious shivers down your spine.