Half Light (2006) / Thriller-Fantasy

MPAA Rated: R for violence, some language and sensuality
Running Time: 102 min.

Cast: Demi Moore, Hans Matheson, Henry Ian Cusick, James Cosmo, Kate Isitt, Therese Bradley, Beans El-Balawi, Joanna Hole
Director: Craig Rosenberg
Screenplay: Craig Rosenberg
Review published December 7, 2005

Demi Moore (Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, A Few Good Men) stars as wildly successful mystery writer Rachel Carlson, an American living in London with her husband (Cusick, The Gospel of John) and young son, Thomas.  Thomas is an adventurous young lad, and through a mishap, ends up drowning just outside the family home.  A year passes, and Rachel is still distraught, blaming herself for the accident, making herself distant and unapproachable to her husband, and they soon separate.  Rachel decides to try to get back into the groove of things by writing, heading to a remote Scottish fishing village, where she finds all the peace and quiet she needs, or so she thinks.  She soon meets a handsome young lighthouse keeper named Angus (Matheson, Les Miserables), who shows her she can love again, all the while feeling the presence of her deceased son, having visions that are either real or just a figment of her imagination.

It's a bit of a return to familiar territory for Moore, here in her first starring performance in almost six years, who had once scored big in a similar supernatural thriller, the Academy Award nominated, Ghost.  Although it seems somewhat similar thematically to many of the Asian-influenced ghost horror films that have come out in Hollywood recently, Half Light has more of an old-school paranoia approach (reminiscent at time to Don't Look Now and The Wicker Man), never really letting on fully whether it is a thriller or a fantasy, right up to the very end.

As such, Half Light feels like a routine thriller, so if you've seen one or two of these already in your lifetime, there is an inherent lack of freshness that keeps this story from really taking hold and grabbing you.  Writer-director Craig Rosenberg (Hotel de Love) does a fine job with the look and feel of the drama, but the story he has developed is dipping from an oft-used pool of inspiration, resulting in standard plot developments and a heaping helping of clichés.

Half Light may please Moore fans, as she has been mostly absent from movies for quite some time, with the exception of a supporting role in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle.  it's not exactly the kind of movie that's going to put her in the forefront of leading actresses by any stretch, especially since this has been relegated to a straight-to-video release in the United States.  Unfortunately, she's done this kind of material before, only better, and with elements of the plot itself being done to death in recent years, the entire production feels wholly recycled from older, better films.  Strictly for less discriminating fans of the genre.

Qwipster's rating:

©2005 Vince Leo