They Wait in the Dark Movie Review

Written by Becky Roberts


Written and directed by Patrick Rea
2022, 84 minutes, Not Yet rated
International Premiere at Frightfest on 27th August 2022


Sarah McGuire as Amy
Patrick McGee as Adrian
Laurie Catherine Winkel as Judith
Paige Maria as Jenny
Tobi Omodehinde as The Woman


Revenge thriller, domestic abuse chiller, supernatural suspenser – Patrick Rea’s They Wait in the Dark is a jack of these trades and master of them all as he effectively weaves heartbreak, violence and spooky happenings into a tragic tale that isn’t short of twists and turns.

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We open with young mother Amy (Sarah McGuire) waking in the corner of a service station, fleeing from her abusive partner, Judith (Laurie Catherine Winkel), her young son Adrian (Patrick McGee) in tow. With limited cash but plenty of fear, the desperate mother and son hole up in her parents’ abandoned country house in her hometown following the death of her widowed father years before. But a vengeful Judith in pursuit isn’t the only thing they have to worry about, as Adrian suspects there's something sinister lurking in the house – and it isn't long before Amy starts feeling the wrath of the house's unwelcomeness too.

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They Wait doesn’t waste time in packing emotional punches, planting the grim, vulnerable reality of Amy’s hardship from the off, a mood duly heightened by Ben Benefield’s affecting classical score – full of yearning at the outset (and later, menacing when it needs to be). Through his protagonists, both of whom are convincingly handled by McGuire and McGee, Rea deftly manages to convey the heightened pressure of parenting in a crisis and the maternal desperation to protect, and the tragedy of and contrast in, a child’s innocence facing one of life’s toughest experiences. Their constant looking-over-the-shoulder fear and the toll that unfamiliar surroundings and uncertain futures take on their relationship only adds to the suspense. It's all pretty bleak and distressing.

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When the house starts to play its part as things take an even darker turn – surfacing memories of Amy’s distressing childhood there, her past catching up with her – the pair’s story of survival doesn’t lose its strong, touching mother/son edge. Rea sustains the bitter chase and supernatural mystery until the gnarly end, and viewers are rewarded with a final reveal twist that somehow satisfies each of its thematic revenge thriller, domestic abuse chiller and supernatural suspenser strands.


Movie: 2.5 Star Rating Cover

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