Stephanie (Amber Heard) and Ellie’s (Odette Yustman) vacation to an exotic village in Argentina is a perfect ‘girl’s getaway’ to bask in the sun, shop and flirt with the handsome locals. After a long night of bar-hopping, the girls get into an argument, and Stephanie heads out alone in the morning to cool off. But when she returns, Ellie has disappeared. Finding signs of a struggle, Stephanie fears the worst, and turns to the police for help. But the local authorities have their hands full already - with a string of unsolved kidnappings targeting young female tourists. Skeptical of the sheriff’s competency, she enlists help from Michael (Karl Urban), an American ex-pat staying at their hotel. Together they go on a frantic search for Ellie, but Stephanie soon realizes that trusting his seemingly good intentions may drag her farther from the truth. With danger mounting, and time running out, Stephanie must find her friend before darkness falls.
Lesson from And Soon the Darkness
: don't miss the last bus out of the small town in Argentina where you've stopped for the night on your cross-country bicycling tour. Especially if you are two nubile young women on your own. Actually, there are many lessons to be learned in this movie, which hews closer to the twisty suspense of A Perfect Getaway
than the hardcore travel-torture action of Hostel
. Amber Heard and Odette Yustman star as the gadabout gals, partying a little too heartily and sleeping in past their departure date in a tiny village full of vaguely shady characters. Karl Urban (Star Trek
) is also loitering around the town, an actor who brings a useful quality of "is he a good guy or a possible killer?" to the proceedings. Director Marcos Efron can find no way of making the behavior of the characters even marginally believable, either as real people or as movie types we might reasonably want to accept as figures in a cautionary tale. They're just dumb. The movie's pictorial qualities are pretty enough, as the countryside of Argentina looks fairly spectacular and Heard and Yustman find excuses to sunbathe in their bikinis. Amber Heard (Zombieland
, Pineapple Express
) definitely has something, leading lady-wise, but a movie this single-note is not the way to explore whatever that is. For the record, it's a remake of a 1970 British film, where the travelers were lost in the wilds of France. --Robert Horton