And Soon the Darkness (1970)

“A little ride in sunny France …” Before I actually watched this film for the first time, I envisioned some sort of early slasher flick and yet it actually plays out as more of an atmospheric thriller or mystery. The film’s tagline set the bar rather high: “Remember the way Hitchcock kept you on the edge of your seat …?” However, if it doesn’t come quite close to a Hitchcockian thriller, And Soon the Darkness, which was directed by Robert Fuest (The Abominable Dr. Phibes), did manage to provide a reasonable amount of suspense and intrigue. Two British nurses – “Jane” (Pamela Franklin from The Innocents) and “Cathy” (Michele Dotrice) – take a cycling holiday through the French countryside. After a serious argument over their itinerary, Jane decides to ride ahead to the next village, while Cathy casually sunbathes in the woods by the side of the road. After encountering a very strange café owner, Jane rides back to the woods to discover Cathy has disappeared without a trace in exactly the area where another young woman was mysteriously killed a couple of years earlier. To make matters worse, a creepy guy named “Paul” (Sandor Eles) who rides a scooter has been casually stalking the women and offers to help Jane find Cathy. Should she trust the weirdo or, for that matter, any of the other creepy residents populating the remote area? And Soon the Darkness was remade by director Marcos Efron in 2010 and starred Karl Urban, Amber Heard and Odette Annable.

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