Between The Darkness: Review
Sprout Grady (Nicole Moorea Sherman) lives with her dad, Roy (Lew Temple) and her little brother Percy (Tate Birchmore) and they lead a rather unconventional family life. It’s been a year since Sprout’s sister, Magda (Daniela Leon) died and Sprout’s father is commemorating the day of her death as they worship the Greek gods of ancient times. The Gradys live in relative isolation, Sprout is taught everything she needs to know by her father and is learning to face her fears.
Sprout is also thirteen and as she enters her teenage years and is faced by new challenges, she starts to realise that her isolation from the outside world has perhaps made her more unprepared for what lies ahead. Then one night, Sprout is awoken by visions of what she believes is a Gorgon and in the day light she starts to question everything around her. The biggest question of all being how she can balance the challenges of her impending womanhood and being a warrior.
Between the Darkness is the feature film debut from writer/director Andreas Rovira. The coming of age horror story tells its audience of a teenager born into an unusual family unit who still faces the complications of growing up. However, amongst the sweet, gentle story of a young girl finding her place in the world is a horror story that goes into some unexpectedly dark places.
Rovira manages to balance the two sides of the story quite skilfully, never really giving the audience too much of one or the other side until it’s necessary. The teenage story is bound to be relateable to many who remember the awkwardness of childhood and also Sprout’s visions of the Gorgon are carefully played to give the horror crowd what they want as the true nature of the Gorgon remains a mystery.
All the cast do exceptionally well, especially Sherman who is compelling to watch, managing to carry the bulk of the film. No mean feat for somebody so young. Temple also plays the Grady father with the right amount of eccentricity, making his character something between Viggo Mortensen in Captain Fantastic and Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski – but with something in the dialogue that is a little unnerving. However, let’s not forget Birchmore who I found myself rooting for into the final act, despite not having as much dialogue as the rest of the cast.
Between the Darkness is not the kind of horror movie you may be expecting from its initial premise and I found myself caught up in the story and the distractions from what was really going on, making its final reveal all the more rewarding. Not to worry though traditional horror fans, the movie truly delivers what it sets out to do but also manages to give the audience a little bit more to think about than they were expecting.
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