For the past month or so, the trailer Netflix released for their new feature, Hold The Dark, set the mood for the exciting, dark, atmospheric thriller they were marketing. With screenings at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) putting Netflix's production logo on the festival big screen, audiences were certainly eager to see which side of the quality line this particular release fell on.
Not quite living up to the hype, but still worth the price of admission, Netflix's Hold The Dark, based on a book of the same name by William Giraldi, is a mixed bag of "excellent where it's good and insultingly bad where it fails", and in early reviews is as likely to be eviscerated as it is to be lauded. Despite this, there are certain elements in the film that seemingly everyone can agree were done right.
Whether it's the "worst good movie" or "best bad movie" is still up for debate, but here's a more definitive look at what about this thriller is making it so divisive.
Spoilers for parts of the film will be discussed ahead.
First, the negatives...
3. Mysteries Remain Unanswered And The Ending Feels Unsatisfying
The thing about mysteries, especially mystery films, is that even when some questions are left unanswered, there should still be some satisfaction and resolution to the ending.
Unfortunately, apart from certain likeable people surviving a gruesome massacre by some violent characters on the quest for revenge, there was no satisfaction to be had from the ending, which felt largely unearned.
Despite many subtle moments in the story cluing into character motivations within the story, especially the motivations of its murderers, the end still has undeserving people getting their happy (with a question mark) ending while entirely innocent characters get shafted for no apparent reason, thereby rendering every single murder after the first one completely pointless.
And whether or not that was the entire point of the film—to have undeserving, unsympathetic characters triumph over others—it did very little to justify it in the midst of all the senseless, and eventually pointless, murder.
While the fact that the film feels like a condensed Netflix mini-series isn't necessarily to its detriment, one might wonder why the ending feels like a setup for a new season they're not sure has been greenlit.
Writer, artist, animator by profession. Indie comics creator, looking to bring LGBTQ+ characters and Filipino culture into mainstream Western media.
A Marvel geek with a DCAU childhood.
|| Writer of the superhero, Filipino political spec-fic novel BAYANI (Amazon, Gumroad) ||
Writer/artist of the Filipino urban fantasy LGBTQ+ webcomic BEHKomiks (Tapas.io) ||
Editor/contributor to The Pinoy Monster Boyfriend Anthology and The Pinoy Monster Girlfriend Anthology short comics collection (Gumroad) ||
All listed works written in English.