January 20, 2014

Dark Touch (2013)

It's hard for us to say that we loved a movie that primarily deals with the horrific after-effects of child abuse, mainly because that is one heavy topic for any type of movie, Horror or not.

I mean, how do you really enjoy something like that, you know?

Dark Touch is a movie in which an 11-year-old girl comes to grips with her newly manifesting telekinetic abilities, while at the same time trying to recover from some pretty awful abuse that she's suffered.

I know everyone who has talked about this movie has likened it to Carrie, and here we are, about to do exactly the same thing, but it's a comparison that just begs to be made; both films involve a young girl with telekinetic powers who is abused by her parent(s), loses her shit, and uses said powers to kill people, whether deserving or innocent.

All in all, we'd have to say that we liked Carrie White's mother far more than we did Niamh's parents, because as abusive parents go, she really was the more loving and caring of the bunch.

That's saying a whole hell of a lot, isn't it?

The Breakdown section is going to contain more Spoilerific Material than it usually does, so be warned. If you just want to know whether we say yay or neigh about the movie, then skip the plot details and just read everything else.

And we mean EVERYTHING!

Niamh (pronounced 'Neeve,' because Irish names are odd) is a sweet 11-year-old girl, who has some problems at home. Her main problem is that her parents are abusive to her, both physically and sexually. Her other problem, which ends up being more of a problem for mom and dad than it does her, is that she has telekinetic abilities... which she justly uses to kill her parents with flying furniture and the like.

In Ireland, this is called "Friday Night." Zing! *Just kidding, it's actually "Thursday."
After hugging her infant brother to death, her neighbors take her in because the poor girl needs a good home now. They of course don't know about her TK powers, and so they don't really take the care that they should in making sure that she doesn't get pissed off or scared. Or creeped out. I mean forcing a girl (who's just been through all sorts of horrible abuse) to strip down and let you bathe her, just doesn't seem like a wise move. Then again, it doesn't seem like a wise (or normal) move at all, abuse or not.

"Bath time you say? Alright..."
As Niamh's inner fear and unease grows, so do her creepy and nefarious actions. Once she enlists a few other creepy kids to join her revenge gang, it's every man for themselves, as vengeance is doled out in liberal fashion to any and all who arouse her ire! Really, no one is safe, aside from her and her creepy cronies.

"Oh, so we're creepy then? Alright..."
Director Marina de Van is no stranger to disturbing material; if you've seen her 2002 Body Horror movie, In My Skin, then you're familiar with her willingness to shake her audience their core, all for the sake of her art and the message that she's trying to convey. Dark Touch may not be a viscerally disturbing as was In My Skin, but it's every bit as nasty in its themes, and the dark places that they force your mind to go to.

This is a well-made film which is beautiful to look at, and at times even feels haunting in its aesthetics. It's also a movie that makes you think, and makes some pretty strong statements about child abuse, and its devastating after-effects. Fear not though, it isn't heavy handed and preachy, it's just really effective at getting its point across.

That poor doll.
Little Missy Keating is great as Niamh. She manages to make us feel her character's inner-struggle, and it never comes off as a young actress trying too hard, or forcing her scenes. Should she decide to continue acting, this kid has a bright future ahead of her.

*On a fun side note, the Irish name Niamh actually means 'bright,' so we could have said "this kid has a niamh future ahead of her," and been completely correct in doing so. So there.

Are there any kids in Ireland that aren't fucking creepy?
How in the hell is Niamh pronounced "neeve?" Even with me being part Irish, the pronunciation of some Irish names just baffles the living hell out of me. Then again, I usually have to sound out most of my words phonetically...

Movies that deal with the topic of child abuse/molestation are always extra horrific to endure. I know that's a fairly obvious statement to make, but what do you want from us? The average Horror movie can be taxing enough (for better or worse), but when you add a real life horror like that to the mix, our heads end up feeling extra messed with. We just like to feel happy!

There are actually some pretty good gore gags in this one, our favorite being the first two on-screen murders, which we wont spoil here...

... aside from this picture, which is fairly spoilerish.
Other than a really disturbing scene in which an adult couple are given a creepy bath by a group of even creepier kids, there's no nudity in this one. Considering that this movie is about the horrors of child abuse, we're absolutely fine with that.

Be good to your kids, and if you're a creepy fucking pedophile, how about you just don't have kids. Also, never take in a kid whose parents just died under mysterious circumstances, because you're next.

Just let her run, man! She'll be better off alone in the woods... and so will everyone else.
Along with Wake Wood, Dark Touch is the best Irish Horror movie that we've seen. It's dark, disturbing, sometimes gruesome, and maybe even a bit poignant, and despite its nasty storyline, it was a thoroughly enjoyable watch.

Be sure to check out Dark Touch when it's released on DVD on January 28th, or catch it on VOD now. If you can handle the heavy subject matter at the heart of the movie, then it's well worth your time and money to give it a go.


Aww, look... Missy Keating isn't horrifyingly creepy in real life.

You know what is creepy though? Her dad's music. Take that, Ronan Keating!


  1. I need to check this out for sure, I just watched in my skin recently.

  2. Let us know what you think, Jenn. It's not as "nasty" as In My Skin was, at least :)

  3. Dark Touch was a well made movie. I appreciate them getting the point across clearly about child abuse and its affects. It definitely kept you watching. It is now on Netflix, Watch it now

  4. I didn’t care for Dark Touch. Watching it I thought “Great, another ‘somebody hurt me, but I have magic powers’ movie.” I don’t know why I didn’t immediately draw a parallel to Carrie. I kept thinking about An American Haunting, which I hated. But Dark Touch is definitely the better of the two. If there was anything that I did like, it was the tone—serious, dark, but not overwhelming. And you’re right about Missy Keating. She’s very talented. The acting is what kept me engaged. Also, there isn’t really a moral compass in this film and I think that was an excellent choice. It made a typical storyline less predictable. I enjoyed that. Even though I doubt that I’ll watch this again, I agree that Dark Touch is worth a watch if anyone out there is still on the fence.

  5. According to the closed captioning her name is spelled "Neeve". I don't know where you came up with the other spelling but I always watch movies with the caption s on if I miss or don't understand a word here or there. So it is not Niamh, it is Neeve.

    1. I didn't come up with it anywhere. "Neeve" is how the name Niamh is pronounced. Niamh is how it's spelled.

      When in doubt, Google is your friend.

    2. I know a girl whose name is Niamh, and as she introduced herself to me the first time, she said 'Neeve'. Could not find her on Facebook until she found me! Guess what, it's really Niamh!!

  6. In the process of watching. Very dark, but also draws me in. I think captioning spells it Neeve for pronunciation sake.

  7. Just poorly executed. While the theme is indeed dark, it feels like the writer researched it from Wikipedia. Just as the characters are clueless to Keating's psychic powers in the movies, so are the viewers left clueless to the aim of the movie. The movie is pretentious, preachy, and full of melodrama. Its like watching the Bold and the Beautiful in church. It wants to make you uncomfortable with its dark themes and shocking message but only succeeds in sending you off to snoozeville.