HOLD THE DARK

I’m on record as saying that I’m not a fan of Netflix and the whole “streaming” thing. It’s like the old Springsteen song: “57 channels and nothing on.” Well now it’s 570 channels and it’s mostly shit but, occasionally, you find something worth a couple of hours of your finite time on this planet. Hold The Dark is an adaptation of the 2018 novel by William Giraldi, and stays pretty close to the source material – which I’ve read – ensuring that the film’s conclusion will make even less “sense” than the book. As if making sense was anything worth aiming for. The film capitalises on the remote Alaskan location and the sense that the wilderness about them has unmoored something in the psyche of the people living there, and that they are being forced to pay some heavy price for past sins and the bill is now overdue. Our innocent abroad in this bleak purgatorial wasteland is a wolf biologist, asked to bring his expertise as its alleged that wolves are carrying off the town’s children. Within the first night of his arrival he knows the problem is far stranger than anything he can understand, and it unfolds from there as unpredictably as I could have hoped for. The location looks desolate and hostile, the wolves look great, and when the madness switch gets flipped, it goes right up to the edge of preposterousness and holds its own. And it’s got Elvis’ grand-daughter in it. Were we still in the 1980’s (“You wish”, says a voice) and this was a straight-to-video release, then I think it would have gone on to achieve justified cult status along with the likes of The Hitcher, Near Dark and Southern Comfort, amongst others. But it’s the third decade of the 21st century so it will just get lost in the digital blizzard. Anyway, here’s my mocked-up cover for the novel:

Hold The Dark (William Giraldi)

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