Oct 192017
 

A Dark Song is a 2016 Irish Horror movie. Horror might be too strong of a word though it certainly gets very dark. It is a slow burn of a movie where little happens until the third act but it is easily one of my favorite movies about the occult. Heck, it might be my favorite occult movie.

Sophia is a middle-aged woman who wants to perform a long ritual in order to get her wish. Because of the complexity of the ritual, she hires occult expert, Solomon, to help her. The ritual requires that they stay isolated inside a house for weeks, possibly months until the ritual works. During this time, they are strictly forbidden from leaving the house and they must perform all sorts of labor-intensive tasks.

Being a movie, not everything is straight forward. Both participants have secrets and the rituals they perform offer little in the way of showing progress. This creates tension between the two as Sophia wonders if Solomon knows what he is doing or maybe this magic stuff is bullshit. It also creates weird scenes where a flower petal is discovered in a room and both of them rejoice because they are sure it means SOMETHING is happening.

Which I got to tell you, is pretty much the most occult thing I have ever seen in a movie.  In movies, the occult is special effects, music cues and quick plot developments. In real occult practice, there is no visual special effect. There is just the doubt that you have been wasting your time doing a quirky creative project.  That doubt, that questioning of your sanity and that over-eagerness to interpret something, anything in a positive light is what dealing with the occult has been for me. This is the first movie that reflects that experience.

Being a movie, shit does eventually happen but it is a sideshow to the tension between Sophia and Solomon. This ritual requires honesty and trust and neither are saints. There is a betrayal that made me lose all sympathy for one of the characters but it is also the kind of betrayal you see too much in the occult community.

I wish I could tell you about the ending but much like the ritual they perform in the movie, it is best seen after you put in the work of watching the movie.

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