Marina de Van’s Dark Touch had plenty of potential, but with an unconvincing lead and its disjointed story the film ultimately loses itself after a solid first act. In a remote town in Ireland, eleven-year-old Neve finds herself the sole survivor of a bloody massacre that killed her parents and younger brother. Suspecting a gang of homicidal vandals, the police ignore Neve’s explanation that the house is the culprit. To help ease her trauma, dutiful neighbors Nat and Lucas take her in with the supervision of a social worker. Neve has trouble finding peace with the wholesome and nurturing couple, and horrific danger continues to manifest.
With a promising start, Dark Touch shows us the sheer violence of Neve’s powers and the amount of damage she can do when pushed to the edge. Unfortunately, she would rather cry throughout the entire movie rather than use the one thing that makes her character interesting. Her powers! Missy Keating, who plays Neve in the film, was a tough character to watch. She was a fine actress but the only problem was that almost every scene involves her either crying and screaming or just staring blankly into nothingness. It got old fast. Yes, the girl was traumatized and they tried to portray that feeling through Neve’s anti-social actions, but it just came off annoying for me. Less kicking and screaming, more death and destruction please.
It felt like the film was trying to be much more complicated than it needed to be because about half way through it starts jumping all over the place. The questionable editing didn’t help either as it felt like really important pieces to the puzzle were missing. One moment little Neve is trying to open up to this young couple and appearing as if she’s this innocent little flower, then the next she luring a bunch of little children to their demise. The film can’t seem to make up its mind about the main character so how am I supposed to?
Both the beginning and end of the flick are actually pretty cool and they show just what Neve is capable of. Especially at the end we finally see that she’s truly evil under that innocent looking face of hers. I think I would have enjoyed this one more if they would have just made Neve evil from the get-go so we could have watched her tear shit up the entire movie instead of pouting in a corner.
Perhaps the strongest element of the film was the skillful directing by Marina de Van as she created a truly gorgeous looking film. Marina de Van knows exactly how to get the best out of each and every shot making this one visually fantastic and a taste of what’s to come for the director. Unfortunately a great looking film doesn’t mean a great story, and where the film really falls flat is its struggle to tell us whether or not this little girl is evil. Either she’s innocent and trying to fight these evil urges insider her, or she’s just down right wicked. Give us one or the other, not both.