In a Dark Place

In a Dark Place isn’t the worst film ever made but it just might be the laziest. Written and directed by people on autopilot, it phones in its idiot redux of Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw and adds some "shocking” revelations that border on the offensive. Updating the classic tale to the present, it now offers Leelee Sobieski as the hapless nanny enlisted to care for a rich, absent father’s offspring. Despite the presence of cold personal assistant Tara Fitzgerald, she seems to be responding to the children, until she sees someone lurking on the estate. Could it be… a ghost? I have no problems with taking liberties with a famous literary source, and The Turn of the Screw is full of implications on which a crafty writer might elaborate, but to do that you have to have something to add. This movie is all subtraction. Gone are the pity and fear of the befuddled governess trying to figure things out, replaced by a leering interest in lesbianism and a sexual abuse angle that’s so shallow it’s insulting. And the film can’t even keep interest in its dumb, sensational ideas: Donato Rotunno’s style is a mess of half-remembered clichés and boring compositions that constitute a slap in the public’s face. The actors do what they can, with Fitzgerald throwing herself into a badly drawn role, but there’s no triumphing when nobody behind the camera cares about the outcome. The only extra is a "making of” clip, which features an air headed Rotunno admitting to having never read the source, while the lead actors try to comfort themselves with the fact that it’s a female-driven script. (First Look/Peach Arch)