TIFF 2018 Review: HOLD THE DARK (USA 2018) ***

Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2018. Go to TIFF 2018 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.

Hold the Dark Poster

After the deaths of three children suspected to be by wolves, writer Russell Core is hired by the parents of a missing six-year-old boy to track down and locate their son in the Alaskan wilderness.


Jeremy Saulnier


Macon Blair (screenplay by), William Giraldi (based on the book by)

HOLD THE DARK is the latest film from director Jeremy Saulnier (GREEN ROOM, BLUE RUIN) whose specialty appears to be moody thrillers.  In HOLD THE DARK, written by Macon Blair adapted from the novel by William Giraldi, the film begins with a child playing outside in the winter snow when he sees a pack of wolves.  The child goes missing.   His home is one of a handful of trailers on the edge of the wilderness in Alaska.   His father (Alexander Skarsgård) is serving in the Middle East and his mother (Riley Keough) seems to be succumbing to cabin fever.  

She calls in Russell Core (Jeffrey Wright), a writer and expert on wolves; she believes the creatures took her boy and hopes Core can find him.  The film is quite different for a number of reasons that enable it to stand out.  The first is the wilderness setting.  The second is an unlikely older unattractive looking hero who disappears for a length of the film.  Anyone can be killed off in the story.  

The film is also a bit over the top in violence that undermines the authenticity of the story.  Still, HOLD THE DARK is an apt thriller.

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