The Movie Waffler Dublin Horrorthon 2013 Review - Dark Touch | The Movie Waffler

Dublin Horrorthon 2013 Review - Dark Touch

A young girl struggles to control her violent telekinetic powers.

Directed by: Marina de Van
Starring: Missy Keating, Clare Barrett, Padraic Delaney, Robert Donnelly

Niamh (Keating) is a troubled 11 year old girl with a reputation in her small Irish town for causing trouble for her parents. One night, her parents and infant brother are killed when their house itself seems to turn against the family. The police, of course, don't believe Niamh's explanation and she is placed in the care of a local couple. Niamh's behavior becomes increasingly strange as she struggles to fit in at her school. It becomes apparent to Niamh that she possesses telekinetic powers that she struggles to control, putting the locals at risk.
The setup of this Irish chiller is highly derivative but writer-director Marina de Van adds a darker element by imbuing her troubled young protagonist with a background of child abuse. The film plays out like a particularly dark superhero origin story as young Niamh learns to control her deadly powers and use them against the adults of her town who are guilty of mistreating their children. It's an interesting take on what is essentially a 'Carrie' ripoff but its dark theme leaves a bad taste in the mouth, handled in a way that makes it feel purely like a gimmick designed to add shock value.
de Van does show some skill at creating horror set-pieces. The initial attack on Niamh's family is skillfully put together, as is a  scene where her schoolmates are menaced by Niamh's ability to control their actions. It's director of photography John Conroy who comes out of this with the most credit though. Irish films are notoriously poorly photographed, especially since the advent of digital video, but Conroy's compositions and lighting add a level of production value and a touch of class. Keating is effective in the creepy kid role but the rest of the cast are shockingly amateurish.
Ultimately, there's little to recommend 'Dark Touch' and I suggest you just watch de Palma's 'Carrie' again if you have a craving for telekinetic thrills.

Eric Hillis