Horror Movie Review: Lovely, Dark, and Deep (2023)

With a strong lead actor, serene visuals, a haunting score, and a blend of psychological horror with supernatural scares, Lovely, Dark, and Deep should be a great film.

Alas, writer and director Teresa Sutherland has crafted something that can be called dull. Where too much is left up to the imagination, and not enough is done to make that imagination race.

The excellent Georgina Campbell plays Lennon, a new park ranger for the Arvores National Park. She is assigned to a remote outpost, accepting her role with eagerness as she is a woman who enjoys a bit of solitude. Mainly, so she can look into the stories surrounding missing hikers whose bodies inexplicably turn up months later within the same area they disappeared from.

For all the serenity that exists within the park, there is a sinisterness that she seems to feel in her soul, and across the film’s length, it will be shown that she has a tragic past with this place already.

It’s not exactly the most compelling of stories and as far as the character goes, proves to be quite predictable. It doesn’t take long to work out who Lennon is and why she really wanted this job. This isn’t a problem though, as her story is the only fully defined aspect of the film. Where an over-arching plot surrounding unexplainable supernatural phenomena is left as vague as possible, even with a secondary character attempting to explain it to both Lennon, and the viewer, at the end.

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You got to love a film that feels it must do this, and yet still does a poor job of it. Made all the worse by it coming from a character who was barely in it, and tries to lump a load of unearned emotion into the scene. Although, Georgina Campbell does a fabulous job of trying to salvage this scene.

Vagueness isn’t always a problem though, and Lovely, Dark, and Deep is a good example of a film that could utilise the viewer’s imagination to really add layers of horror to it. However, to do this, it needs to actually show and tell some compelling aspects, and it really doesn’t. In fact, it starts to use tired supernatural tropes, and while it is understandable that it does, it really doesn’t help make the experience more compelling.

Where Lovely, Dark, and Deep does excel is with its visuals, sounds, and atmosphere. The sense of isolation that Lennon feels, will be felt by the viewer. The shots of the park both convey the beauty of such an expansive location, while also conveying its threat. The music has an oppressive vibe, but silence is also used wonderfully here. All fantastic aspects of the Lovely, Dark, and Deep experience, but not enough to make it any less dull.


  • Carl Fisher

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Lovely, Dark, and Deep (2023)
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