A grieving mother entreats an occult specialist to help her perform an arduous, months-long ritual to summon a guardian angel and grant her wish: to speak with her dead son.
If there's one thing this list proves, it's that I am a sucker for a bottle episode. A Dark Song, to the best of my remembrance, never once leaves the confines of the home that is the site of the ritual. Catherine Walker as the lead is utterly heartbroken, vulnerable, and borderline mute for much of the film, but acting her soul out. Steve Oram, as the magus brought in to facilitate the summoning, perfectly slots into the role of a man who knows exactly what power he has - if not power immanent, then at least a social power over the people who believe him and need him for their workings. The film gets tough about halfway through, and then it gets scary, and then it breaks, like a fever. I'd put this up on the pegboard with The Babadook, The Witch, and Hereditary as utterly incredible modern horror debuts. We're living in a good era for this sort of thing.
CAST + CREW
Director: Liam Gavin
Cast: Catherine Walker (Cellar Door, The Delinquent Season)
Steve Oram (Sightseers, It's All Gone Pete Tong)
CONTENT (spoilered; highlight for warnings)
sexual abuse, betrayal of trust, child death, occult ritual, demonic possession, angelic immanence
CAREER STATS [on a scale from 1 (least) to 10 (most)]
A dark film (could you guess?) but with a transcendent payoff.
The rite opens the house up to everything through the æther.
Both personal drama and demonic intereference ratchets up.
Some rough stuff, but you won't forget this after it's seen.
Hereditary, The Skeleton Key, Oculus, Drag Me to Hell