From the title alone, audiences can already figure out the main premise of this Irish supernatural horror starring Missy Keating, Game of Thrones’ Art Parkinson and Marcella Plunkett. It lives up to its name as indeed, it was a very dark and broody film that deals with the truly depraved subject of child abuse.
Niamh (Missy Keating) is a reserved 11 year old girl who was found to be the sole survivor of the grisly murder of her parents and the subsequent death of her brother. Niamh claimed that the house was responsible for the deaths, which of course, nobody believed. Niamh’s neighbors Nat and Lucas offer to take her in temporarily, but they too, become puzzled by Niamh’s weird actions and abilities, driven by a dark secret she shared with her deceased parents.
Dark Touch had a great premise. A girl abused by her parents seeks revenge by using her “gifts” to help other abused children in their town. Missy Keating did the lead part justice by portraying her role as a youngster damaged by her parents’ betrayal perfectly. From the onset, she managed to win the audience over because of her innocent charm and her character’s vulnerability.
The horror was firmly established by the generally very dark and graphic feel of the movie which boasted of some creative death scenes although viewers would hardly feel any sympathy for its victims.
It was also very disturbing on many points because 1) children became the victims of abuse and 2) children were also responsible for much of the violence that happens in the film.
For me, I found myself sad and frustrated for most the movie because all the signs were obvious and none of the adults really did anything substantial to help Niamh. It felt like a collective betrayal that actually led me to question whether the ending was justified no matter how horrific it was.
At the film’s end, it seemed like there were a lot of puzzle pieces unveiled by the movie in different scenes that seemed connected, yet the film failed to make the connection or answer the questions like what was Niamh’s relationship to Nat and Lucas’s dead daughter, or why Nat is attuned to Niamh when she is having a meltdown.
All in all, I felt like the film was fragmented in so many levels because there were a lot of questions that the film failed to set to rest. While the execution of the horror was top notch, and it was successful in boggling the minds of its audience with its bleak premise and interpretation, I think it fell short of telling a complete story, which is what great movies should do, even those with ambiguous endings.