The narrative is full of the usual plot twists and red herrings, but it’s efficiently-paced and fairly engaging, with a more coherent, self-contained story that doesn’t require a slide rule to follow (another common knock against some of the sequels). Though Rock occasionally seems out of his element, he turns in a decent performance and injects welcome moments of humor here and there, something completely absent from every previous film.
Bizarre even by the director’s notorious standards, Siberia is nevertheless well made and visually impressive. With the harsh, cold landscapes underscoring Clint’s isolation, it might even be Ferrara’s best looking film. Whether or not there’s any actual meaning to it all (or entertainment value, for that matter) depends entirely on the viewer. Proceed at your own risk.
The Stylist is also…well, stylish. Despite occasionally-shocking violence, the film is moody, atmospheric and deliberately paced. That might be off-putting to those expecting nothing more than a gory good time with the girls. For everybody else, it’s a dark, compelling journey of a woman whose desperation to be somebody else reaches disturbing heights…or depths.
The story itself was a gripping watch, primarily because I’m a massive fan of the franchise and have a bond with these two characters that has transcended the better part of a decade. Chaves intelligently taps into that affinity with Lorraine and Ed, giving the latter an extra layer of foreboding via a heart attack at the very beginning. This means the audience are acutely aware of his potentially impending danger, every single time he gets above a brisk walk, and believe me, he does so much more than that, just trying to protect his love of thirty years.
Either way, The Cleansing Hour comes to a great conclusion, capping-off one of the better possession horror films I’ve seen lately. And if nothing else, at least we get to see a religious profiteer get what’s coming to him.
One aspect the film does share with The Strangers is a grim sense of inevitability that hangs over everything. There aren’t any real narrative surprises, nor does Bertino try to throw us any. The Dark and the Wicked is more about the journey than the destination, and as such, it’s a trip worth taking for fans of haunting, atmospheric horror.