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Lovely, Dark, and Deep (2023): No Spoilers!

The image of a woman dressed as a park ranger is in shades of blue, against a red landscape, reflected

Movie poster from IMDB

Georgina Campbell stole my heart after I saw her performance in Barbarian (one of my favorite movies ever of all time in the history of tons of things), and she repeated that for me with Lovely, Dark, and Deep. She plays park ranger Lennon, a quiet woman who keeps to herself, but manages to get a three-month assignment in the backcountry: remote areas typically traveled by more experienced hikers and backpackers. The rangers are all warned that it's easy to go a bit crazy out there by themselves, and one has to wonder if that's the case with Lennon.

Since I know a fair number of you are also true crime/mystery fans, I'm sure some of you have heard of/seen The Missing 411 documentary, based on the surprising number of people (including children) who go missing in national parks every year. Some of the bodies are located later under incredibly bizarre circumstances, after extensive manhunts, in locations where it's unlikely they could have reached on their own. Others disappear without a trace. The documentary is oddly terrifying and lends an extra layer of psychological horror to this movie, so I definitely recommend watching the documentary first if mysteries of the outdoorsy nature are up your alley!

But, back to the movie.

If you're an avid hiker or backpacker, I think this movie will strike a fantastic note with you. The movie starts with a bang, and while it may not hold that pace the entire time, I was fascinated from start to finish. Elements like camera angles and lighting build an unstable environment that keeps you on your toes, and wondering what's real and what might just be a figment of Lennon's imagination.

Georgina does a wonderful job of coming across as deeply haunted, and if this is the kind of work we can expect from director Teresa Sutherland, I look forward to what's down the road. It was a beautiful blend of cosmic and psychological terror, with a haunting past and twisted reality. There were a couple of bits during the exploration of Lennon's past that felt disjointed, but not enough to pull me out of the film!

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