I have a soft spot for movies about writers. If I have a choice in the matter, I’d rather be presented with someone who’s a complete failure as a writer. Like Miles (Paul Giamatti) in Sideways.
Guess I’m not so lucky with Half Light. It’s about a successful author, Rachel (Demi Moore), who loses her son by the 8th minute of the movie. That’s a pretty good timing for the inciting incident.
Rachel leaves her husband who is an unsuccessful author who naturally gets my sympathies for the 80 seconds of screen time that he has. She also leaves Little Venice (London) and retreats to a cabin in Scotland. She’s alone and haunted by her guilt (she was the one who left the door to the canal open).
By the end of Act I, it’s clear that’s NOT the only thing that will haunt her. On the positive side, Scottish people have such funny accents which balance the spooky bits nicely. Eventually, Rachel meets a psychic (every town has one) and an attractive lighthouse keeper (every lighthouse has one).
Act II starts with a hair raising (re)appearance of the dead boy. God, I hate kids who come back from the dead (yes, I hate Steven King’s Pet Cemetery). Thankfully, we’re soon back to the romantic sub-plot with Angus. Good thinking. Two dead kids at time is my limit.
When Angus is giving Rachel THE tour of the lighthouse, I felt a bit disappointed. This was begging for a little Vertigo moment (Hitchcock). I felt even more disappointed by the “love” montage that followed. Riding horses against the sunset, admiring the view from atop of the lighthouse…
Nevertheless, the second act stands out with one good scare after another. Things go from bad to worse (although I won’t spoil them for you). Unlike The Descent, the ending is conventional.
Half Light is a good movie shot with a modest budget (no idea what Demi’s fee is thought). The end credits had a dozen people listed. The movie will not get a theatrical release in the US, although it’s not entirely clear why. Some say it’s due to the incomprehensible Scottish accents. Some say the producers already recouped their costs and were not interested in investing their hard-earned pounds in a risky US release.
You can get the DVD though or search for the Half Light torrent if you’re a real Demi Moore fan and you can’t wait till January. A funny bit of trivia, Demi Moore ordered 20 crates of beer for the crew and then gave them the next day off to recover. They probably loved her!