Many horror films attempt to get away with no plot or acting by having amazing special effects and vast amounts of gore. The modern-technology-hungry-individuals drink up all the blood and claim that it was an amazing film. This is an issue that present day movie goers battle with on many fronts, but in order for a horror film to be truly terrifying it must have a great all-around game. The fact is that individuals remember great films over time, but the flashes in the pan are forgotten almost as soon as they leave the theater.
The Eclipse is a film that doesn’t have any gore or crazy special effects. Instead it relies on engaging characters, amazing atmosphere, and an incredible score. The plot centers on Michael Farr (Ciarán Hinds) and his inability to move on from his recently deceased wife. While volunteering at a local annual literary festival, he looks after an author by the name of Lena Morelle (Iben Hjejle). Lena has a special affection for the otherworldly or ghosts. Both Michael and Lena share intimate stories about the ghosts they have seen and the ghosts they are currently seeing.
Genre blending is popular in the horror business right now and The Eclipse does a masterful job of blending horror and romance. When watching this film take place on the coast of Ireland and set to a gothic score you can’t help but feel entrenched in the romance that ensues between Michael and Lena. Whenever you fall too deep into the honey trap, there are quick moments of horror that jolt you right back out. The play between horror and romance reminds the viewers of the nuanced nature of fear. The plot is complex enough to pit fear and love in multiple relationships. Michael’s fear for his children, his father-in-law, and his new found love. In order for the characters and the viewers to truly be scared, we first have to fear that we are going to lose something.
The Eclipse is a beautiful film, but it does come with its share of negatives. The pace of the film is glacial and will only be loved by viewers that find beauty in the truly nuanced and sullen. There is also a lack of scares or terrifying moments in the film. When there is a scary moment, it normally comes in the form of a shock or pop out. While the acting on the most part is great, the difference between the two major characters and the supporting cast is pretty clear.
If you love films that have a lasting effect and capture the true beauty of feeling haunted, then The Eclipse is a great film for you. Some horror fans will moan about the lack of scares, but this film beautifully captures the interplay between love and fear. You won’t necessarily be aghast by The Eclipse, but you will definitely be moved.
If you liked The Eclipse, you might also like The Devil's Backbone.