Written and directed by Marina de Van, Dark Touch is an impressive horror movie that manages to provide the goods for horror fans while also doing something a bit different from the norm. It's dark, it's pretty disturbing, and it's well worth your time.
Young Niamh (Missy Keating) is the sole survivor of a massacre that left the rest of family dead. Well, it seems to have been a massacre, but there are enough elements that don't quite fit in with the picture that the police are putting together. It certainly couldn't have been anything to do with Niamh anyway. Could it? While she is cared for by the sweet Nat (Marcella Plunkett) and Lucas (Padraic Delaney) it quickly becomes clear that this eleven-year-old girl isn't exactly like other children her age. Things seem to happen when she gets angry. And she has a lot to get angry about.
Mixing together elements of Carrie and The Children with something even more disturbing, Dark Touch may not be full of surprises, but it benefits from a nice thread of moral ambiguity running throughout and a third act that is as hard to accept as it is impressive. It also manages to sketch out a small Irish community, in broad strokes, as a place where the events depicted could actually happen.
Missy Keating is very good in the main role, maintaining a fine balance between innocent child and something much more dangerous, while Plunkett and Delaney both provide solid support as the main adults in Niamh's life. Charlotte Flyvholm and Stephen Wall will make viewers squirm, and Robert Donnelly, Susie Power, Catherine Walker and Richard Dormer all hold themselves confidently alongside the leads.
I wouldn't exactly call Dark Touch a slow burner, there's a cracking opening sequence and enough moments throughout to keep everyone interested and entertained, but it's certainly a film that veers between restraint and excess as it builds up to quite a weird and wild conclusion, and that's what makes it so memorable.