Watching Dark Touch reminded me how unnerving horror films that star creepy, sinister children can be. What exactly is it about evil kids that we find so fascinating? Maybe it’s because we are reminded of the darker aspects of our own childhood? Or maybe it’s because childhood represents the epitome of innocence, so watching the corruption and perversion of that innocence is particularly disturbing to us. The Omen, Village of the Damned, Children of the Corn… all of these films and more have preyed upon that fear, but what DARK TOUCH manages to do is uncover new disturbing aspects of this terror that we haven’t come across before.
The film is set in a remote rural town in Ireland, where eleven year old Niamh finds herself the only survivor of a bloody incident in which both her parents and her younger brother are killed. Niahm’s explanation is that the house that they were living in killed her family, but of course no one believes her. To help ease her trauma, neighbours Nat and Lucas take Niahm into their home and promise to look after her. But Niahm has trouble getting on with the couple and even more horrors begin to manifest themselves.
Dark Touch is one of those films that keep you glued to the screen from start to end. The main reason for this is because it makes you really want to know what’s going on. Is there a poltergeist? Is the house haunted? Is Niahm some kind of Demon child? Clues are hinted at and slowly revealed at a pitch perfect pace, making the viewer wonder what evil lurks behind each shadow or beyond each turn the plot takes. Dialogue is extremely sparse, adding to the claustrophobic and threatening atmosphere and when you begin to realise what the film is really about, it hits you hard and leaves you feeling stunned. Without wanting to give too much away, the film deals with the way evil breeds evil and how you can never really bury it for good. Missy Keating, the young actress who plays Niahm, gives a particularly impressive performance; her cold stare projects both a cold lack of sentiment and a wounded innocence all at the same time.
The only thing that is lacking from this feature is a bit more in the way of exposition. Not revealing every detail of what is happening and allowing the viewer to fill in the blanks is fine, but we could have done with a little more to work with. However, the film has a truly shocking conclusion that will haunt you for a long time after the end credits roll. It will linger in your thoughts and it will disturb you… that’s a promise.
3.5 / 5
DARK TOUCH is directed by Marina De Van and stars Padraic Delaney, Richard Dormer, Marcella Plunkett, Robert Donnelly,
Art Parkinson,Catherine Walker,Simon Boyle and Olga Wehrly.