Blu-Ray Review: And Soon the Darkness (1970)

There is an unexpected amount of talent involved in And Soon the Darkness, which could easily otherwise be considered a throwaway exploitation B-picture from late 60’s/early 70’s cinema, yet makes it a surprisingly effective piece of suspense.

The script is co-written by Brian Clemens and Terry Nation, for a start. Clemens was one of the key producers involved in developing cult 1960’s TV series The Avengers and would go on in the 70’s to develop horror and suspense tales on ITV with his successful series Thriller, becoming a major producing name in the process. Nation, famously, would create not just Blake’s-7 but also the legendary Daleks, Doctor Who’s most iconic race of villains who have become a key popular culture touchstone in science-fiction television over the last half century. Composer Laurie Johnson also created the well-known Avengers theme while director Robert Fuest was also ported over from the same show.

And Soon the Darkness therefore benefits from an array of talented individuals putting their talents to use on what otherwise is quite a stripped back, simple concept. Two young nurses on holiday, Jane & Cathy, played by Pamela Franklin (previously nominated for an BAFTA for her role in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie) and Michele Dotrice (daughter of Shakespearean stage actor Roy, sister of Disney child darling Karen, and eventual sitcom star as Betty Spencer in Some Mothers Do ‘Ave Em with Michael Crawford), are cycling through the empty, northern French countryside and when one of them disappears, the other finds herself alone and surrounded by mysterious, shady locals in her efforts to discover the truth about what may have become of her.

Though not quite Hitchcockian in its construction and thrills, And Soon the Darkness uses this pedigree to construct a tale which steadily and quite skilfully unfurls.