Hold the Dark review: A hauntingly complex thriller from Netflix (2023)

Hold the Dark review: A hauntingly complex thriller from Netflix (1)
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From the director of the Green Room, the film adaptation of William Giraldi's novel Hold the Dark comes to Netflix and leaves its mark as a dark and brutal descent into evil.

There's something about a crime story set against a backdrop of snow and freezing cold that adds disturbing layers to the average thriller. Instead of taking solace in the hopeful rays of sunshine beaming down on our characters, we're left with the gray and barren backdrop of an Alaskan town that serves only as a backdrop for an equally gray and uncomfortable story about missing children and the nature. nature of the darkness of inner humanity. This is Jeremy Saulnier's crime drama on Netflix,hold the dark, in a nutshell.

(Video) Hold The Dark Netflix Review

Jeremy Saulnier explored similar concepts of evil and the dark truth of fate in his previous film,green room, in 2016. That film featured a group of wannabe rockers taking on a group of neo-Nazis, a challenge the group simply isn't ready to take on, which turns out to be their ultimate downfall. Similarly,hold the darkit also explores the idea of ​​meddling in something that may not be, and perhaps SHOULD not be fully understood and explained.

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From William Giraldi's novel of the same name,hold the darktells the slow, chilling story of a woman named Medora Slone (Riley Keough) who writes to a writer/wolf expert named Russell (Jeffrey Wright), claiming that her son, along with two other children, were kidnapped by wolves who they roam the earth. Snowy mountain world near the village. When Russell begins to investigate, he finds himself embroiled in a heated battle of wits and lifestyle between Alaskans and the police, and he discovers something.much darkerthan I could ever have expected.

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hold the darkhe tells this story very patiently, letting the information seep in naturally as we try to understand exactly what's going on, a method that still might not yield full and complete answers by the end of the film. Saulnier's cold crime drama is unlike anything I've personally seen him tackle. Although the film relies heavily on realism to portray his brutal and uncompromising setting, Saulnier tells the story with a surreal edge to his directorial voice. The pacing of the film is akin to a slow-moving nightmare, gradually becoming more haunting and hard to believe as it progresses.

Hold the Dark review: A hauntingly complex thriller from Netflix (2)

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The movie is so dark and mysterious that it wouldn't be a huge surprise to see a lot of negative reviews commenting on the film's supposed "pretentiousness" and lack of easy answers.hold the darkis a surreal vision of the wild nature of human beings, while using realism to explore the complexities of the human condition.

It is NOT a popcorn thriller and it honestly benefits artistically from it. Here, we have Saulnier left unsupervised, gradually peeling back the layers of compelling characters to reveal the darkness that some believe lies within all of us.


In fact, most of the characters could be said to be on the verge of being a "human being" in some sense.hold the darkcontains characters that behave more like wolves than humans, the strongest example being Riley Keough's character Medora Slone. From the beginning of the film, Medora's thousand-meter gaze haunts the screen as she moves and speaks with the utmost restraint, almost as if she were a wolf refraining from attacking another animal.

She continues this behavior when Jeffrey Wright's character Russell comes to her house to help her find the wolves that took her son. She often pauses in the middle of conversation to simply look at Russell and her cold gaze never seems to abate, following Russell wherever he goes and watching everything he says.

Keough's performance could hardly be classified as emotional, which may put some viewers off. However, her commitment to this stagnant and emotionally absent performance is admirable, given some of the haunting scenes she is a part of in this film.

Hold the Dark review: A hauntingly complex thriller from Netflix (3)

Endure the Dark, Netflix David Bukach

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also invadinghold the darkis the equally chilling and calculated performance of Alexander Skarsgard as Vernon, Medora's husband who has just returned from the war to discover the harsh reality of his son's disappearance. Vernon, like Medora, is wolfish in his manner, observing the people and places near him with a subtle intensity brought to life by Skarsgard's intimidation factor.

Medora and Vernon's willingness to explore their wild nature takes the story to disturbing new levels, particularly in Vernon's case. Even in his introduction, Vernon comes off as a cold-hearted man who is willing to do horrible things to others to save a life or just out of sheer spite.

Skarsgard doesn't make the level of morality Vernon possesses obvious or even justifiable by the various shady actions he takes as the movie progresses. It is clear thathold the darkhe is less interested in direct answers and more interested in studying the very nature of people so willing to be consumed by their dark natures.

Hold the Dark review: A hauntingly complex thriller from Netflix (4)

Endure the Dark, Netflix David Bukach

Studying these behaviors is something Russell knows all too well, having spent his life studying wolves and identifying with them to the point of considering even killing them a crime. His beliefs are put to the test when he takes on this criminal case, learning more about wolves than he ever could from his previous experiences.

Jeffrey Wright brings an honesty to Russell that makes his somewhat weak story all the more compelling and easy to follow. Russell is easy to relate to as he battles wolves or puts his life on the line to save others in need in the middle of a bloody gunfight. Brave but deeply flawed in his understanding of what's going on, Russell may not be the traditional hero we see in whodunit, but he's easily one of the most interesting.

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More than two hours longhold the darkit might test your patience and its slow pace might not help with that. Once you strip away the bulk of the film (this could have easily been around an hour and forty minutes), we're left with a haunting and complex crime drama that's sure to leave you wondering about the evil nature of human beings long after. you remove it from your Netflix watch list.

From personal experience, my dad and I had a pretty interesting discussion about the movie after it ended. He has repeatedly stated that he viewed the film as a warning about what happens when one meddles with a way of life that is not easy to understand, which is hard to deny after watching it.Hold the dark.

It reminds me a lot of Taylor Sheridan's similar snowy police drama,river of wind, which is also set in an underrated part of America and also explores the differences between locals and outsiders. Here, Jeremy Saulnier goes a step further by deconstructing the ideas behind the beliefs and lifestyles of the locals, reducing them to their dark but morally complex core.

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So for those looking to watch it on Netflix, be warned: it's not easy to watch.hold the darkHe may be considerate of your feelings, but he doesn't stop at his brutal presentation. Despite its bleak atmosphere, this movie has hints of hope scattered throughout, which can make the experience a lot less depressing after watching it. But that still doesn't take away from the many graphic scenes in this relentless crime story.hold the darkIt's not fun, but it's an essential viewing experience in my opinion.

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Final verdict: 8/10

hold the darkis available to stream on Netflix now.


What is the point of the movie Hold the Dark? ›

"Hold the Dark" is as cutthroat a thriller as they come. The 2018 Netflix film based on the novel of the same name by William Giraldi tells the story of a writer/wolf expert who is hired to investigate the disappearance of a missing child, only for more savage secrets to be revealed.

Is Hold the Dark a horror movie? ›

Hold the Dark is a 2018 American action thriller film directed by Jeremy Saulnier from a screenplay by Macon Blair. It is based upon the novel of the same name by William Giraldi. The film stars Jeffrey Wright, Alexander Skarsgård, James Badge Dale, Riley Keough, Tantoo Cardinal, and Julian Black Antelope.

Is Hold the Dark a werewolf movie? ›

A werewolf movie that isn't a werewolf movie, but really kind of is, Hold the Dark avoids easy categorization, sometimes to a fault. The movie mostly takes place in a small Alaskan village, where a young mother (Riley Keough) believes her son has been taken by wolves.

Is Hold the Dark supernatural? ›

Set in a remote area in Alaska, the film is extremely dark and extremely violent, and deals with overwhelming grief, supernatural occurrences, and immeasurable human cruelty. Viewers should expect countless brutal deaths: by knife, arrow, gunfire, guns, a machine gun, and fire.

What is the synopsis of Hold the Dark a novel? ›

Wolves are killing children in Keelut, a remote Alaskan village on the edge of the untamed wilderness. A grieving mother requests the aid of Russell Core, a wolf expert, to investigate the killings and track down the pack responsible.


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