'Lovely Dark and Deep' Review: Lucid Dreaming and Atmospheric Horror Can Only Get You So Far The Nerdy Basement

‘Lovely Dark and Deep’ Review: Lucid Dreaming and Atmospheric Horror Can Only Get You So Far

National Parks have always been a place worthy of attraction, and tourism, but also have become grounds for some of the most horrific missing persons cases in the world. Teresa Sutherland plays on those woody, atmospheric horrors in a story that centers around a rookie Park Ranger Lennon (Georgina Campbell) as she seeks to overcome her childhood trauma caused by the same national park she is now working at.

Sutherland expertly plays on those atmospheric horrors through lucid dream-like states and claustrophobia. Leaning into the fear of the unknown and the obstacle that is overcoming one’s fear, Sutherland gives Campbell ample room to deliver the emotional and psychological mind-trip needed for a film like this one. However, the film falls short of its goal by prolonging the big reveal as to why Lennon has embarked on her Park Ranger career and leaving the reveal up to interpretation rather than providing a clear explanation. It’s not the hardest mystery to deduce but it may come off as confusing or ambiguous.

'Lovely, Dark, and Deep' Review: Lucid Dreaming and Atmospheric Horror Can Only Get You So Far The Nerdy Basement

The film’s first act builds up the lingering mystery but stumbles as the layers of this mystery begin to peel back. Things ramp up even more in the film’s third act and teeters between psychological horror and slasher horror which can throw some viewing in for a loop. If there is anything the film does well is that it encapsulates the fear of being lost in a vast landscape with the dwindling hope of being found. The woods or any national park for that matter can feel like an endless void if you have no real sense of direction and through the eyes of Lennon, Sutherland puts the viewer in the front seat providing an endless sense of despair.

‘Lovely Dark and Deep’ lacks the most in its story and how the story is presented even if the presentation is a technological achievement, albeit a creative one. Where the film shines the most is in Georgina Campbell’s performance. Campbell is still hot off her role of ‘Barbarian’ and has appeared in the sci-fi thriller “T.I.M.”– while her performance in the latter was just ok, Sutherland gives Campbell a lot to work with in this film and it shows how much she can shine as an actor when given a good script. Even if the execution of the script isn’t the best.

Another thing I would like to commend Sutherland on is her direction and the film’s cinematography. ‘Lovely Dark and Deep’ is beautiful to look at and the vastness of the national park is perfectly captured providing for some enamoring scenic visuals. In the same breath, the visuals provided in those night scenes are some of the most spine-tingling and fear-inducing scenes I’ve seen in a horror film in quite some time. A lot of horror films these days tend to forget how much of the setting itself lends to the fear of the unknown and the fear of the dark, but Sutherland has perfectly captured it.

'Lovely Dark and Deep' Review: Lucid Dreaming and Atmospheric Horror Can Only Get You So Far The Nerdy Basement

While the result of ‘Lovely Dark and Deep’ may miss the mark story-wise, one can admire the creativity and technological presentation of the story, the fear and the trauma haunting Campbell’s character Lennon. The reveal that the park rangers ultimately just allow these things to happen to maintain some sort of peace with whoever lingers in the woods is quite telling of what could potentially be a real-life scenario with those National Park cold cases. On the flip side, lucid dreaming and atmospheric horror can only get this film so far.

That being said, I do want to see more of Georgina Campbell and more of Teresa Sutherland’s work as both have proven that they can be a force when working together.

Lovely, Dark, and Deep is now available on VOD.

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