Eleven-year-old Niamh (Missy Keating) is the sole survivor of a brutal attack that kills her parents and baby brother. Nat (Marcella Plunkett) and Lucas (Padraic Delaney) take her in while social services look for a permanent placement for the deeply traumatised girl; but the troubles that led to Niamh’s family’s death follow her.
I actually wish that I had better things to say about Dark Touch.
There’s a dark moodiness to the film that really comes through in the cinematography, costuming and scoring, which are all really well-handled. The quality of the production does a great job of establishing that Niamh’s world has been muted by the trauma that she’s suffered, not just as a result of her family’s death, but because of a lifetime of abuse from her parents.
Missy Keating does a good job of expressing how Niamh has been fundamentally broken by what she’s experienced, managing to convey her distance and the internal pain that she’s experiencing. There are times when she’s perhaps not quite up to the task of conveying the full emotional intensity that a particular scene requires, but she still manages to carry the film.
I can’t really complain about the acting of Marcella Plunkett or Padraic Delaney, either. I think their characters are a bit over the top at times, but I feel like that may be as a result of the material they’re working with than anything else.
The real weakness of this movie is how entirely implausible a lot of the scenarios are. Almost every action taken by the adults in Niamh’s life make no sense given the situation, and the fact that she’s put with a couple who are clearly incapable of meeting her needs – and that her only other kind of support seems to be a school counselor – just beggars belief.
These clumsily handled plot points might allow for the movie to progress in a certain way, but I found it hard to become properly immersed in the story when I was just questioning every decision being made, or action being taken. This is particularly true of the final act of the movie, which make sense in one respect, but seem to be inconsistent with the way in which Niamh has been developed over the course of the movie.
Overall, it seems like there were particular scenes that the filmmakers wanted to include in the movie, and there was little thought given to how these scenes came about, or whether they made sense.
It’s actually really disappointing, because there was something about this movie that read very much like Carrie. I feel like it had a lot of potential, and the people involved in actually producing the movie should be proud of what they achieved. It’s just unfortunate that they were working with inferior material, because it ended up being a bit of a mess.