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Dark Touch looked promising from the trailer and concept. In a nut shell, it seemed like Ireland’s answer to Carrie.

Dark Touch is the story of a young girl named Niamh. She witnesses the deaths of both her parents when they are killed by a violent but unseen supernatural force, which quite literally rips their house apart and sets it ablaze. During the attack Niamh accidentally crushes her baby brother to death in her attempts to protect him.

Niamh is then sent to live with a local family who knew her parents. She was clearly a deeply troubled girl even before their deaths but now exhibits extremely challenging behaviour.

As the film progresses, it comes as no surprise to discover that the mysterious supernatural force  is emanating from Niamh herself. She has telekinetic powers and causes objects to move violently or even burst into flames when she is upset. Even if they hadn’t chosen to include this information in the damn trailer, it would hardly have come as a shock when it’s revealed about two-thirds of the way through the movie.

Secondly, it hardly comes as any surprise that Niamh was sexually abused by her parents – what IS surprising is that not one person in her life had noticed it. Or bothered to do anything about it. Even more surprising is that this is not questioned in the film, or even treated as a theme.

Only the idiotic student support officer at Niamh’s school realises what has happened to her. Bizarrely, she doesn’t pursue the issue of Niamh’s abuse because her partner advises her that it would be ‘too upsetting’, especially considering she’s pregnant and everything. Never mind that it’s her fucking job. No. She’s far too busy being the stereotypical English Rose – prattling on about eating all the caviare and how much she loves babies. Why Niamh chooses this air head in her only attempt to reach out to another human being is quite beyond me.

There’s an absolute mountain of stuff that goes unexplained in Dark Touch. Why can Niamh’s foster mother hear the strange whistling that emanates when Niamh is using telekinesis? Why does Niamh whistle to the pictures of the dead girl Mary? Why are all the parents in this film aggressive disciplinarians? It’s not set in the 1950s. It’s set in the present day – but a child screams hysterically when a bowl is broken for fear of punishment. Why are all examples of child abuse totally ignored? Not just Niamh but also the two waifs at her school who are beaten by their mother.

There’s ambiguous – and then there’s lazy, pretentious crap. Dark Touch started out well and the acting – especially from Missy Keating – is very good. By the end it’s just confusing. It felt all the way through that there would be more to the plot. Niamh’s foster parents were close to her own parents, their dead daughter’s doctor was Niamh’s father. There had been some kind of accident when Niamh was a child in which her legs were broken. But this is never built upon.

People are so confused by this film that I’ve seen explanations where people claim that Mary was being abused by her parents and that Niamh was not. Mary’s bruising is, presumably, due to her unspecified cancer – perhaps leukaemia – and not due to abuse. The couple are depicted as generally decent parents, if totally ill equipped to deal with an orphan who’s been sexually abused. But hey – social services don’t make an appearance in this film and Niamh gets dumped on the family as a favour to the local copper. If I was Irish…err wait…if I was living in Ireland I would feel offended by this depiction. As it is, I’m just pissed off that this film appears to be making a point about child-abuse, in a totally unrealistic scenario. The point at which a child’s house is burnt down and there are clear signs that she has been sexually abused is the point at which questions are asked.

And if you really, really think it’s possible they wouldn’t be – make that the central point of your film. Don’t muddy the water with sub-plots that lead nowhere and endless confusion.

There are some bizarre moments in this film. The doll party for instance, where the girls beat, mutilate and verbally scold their dolls for being fat and ugly. Now I know kids can be evil little shits – but seriously – how often do you see a group of kids bashing in the plastic craniums of their toys or gouging their eyes out. That’s one step away from a trip to the local kiddie-psychologist in any normal society.

Another thing that goes unexplained – Niamh kills the violently abusive mother of two of her class-mates, these children then disappear. Why does no one look for them? Why are they simply assumed dead? Where do they go for those days- wearing, as they are, nothing but their pyjamas? And why does Niamh guide all of her classmates to their school to kill them all? Because they were bullies?

Dark Touch is a stupid film. It’s a maudlin melodrama that makes no fucking sense at all. If the film makers had extracted their heads from their rectums for long enough to realise that they didn’t have the first fucking clue about how society functions – let alone how so much child-abuse goes on unreported – they might have made a half-decent film. But they kept their heads firmly up their arse-holes and as a result, this film is a pile of shit.

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Post-script

Ok, so it’s been a while. I’ve been doing…stuff. And to be honest it’s been ages since I’ve watched or read any horror I felt like taking the time to review. I know, I know I missed the two most spooky times of the year. Halloween and Christmas. I promise I’ll make it up to you. I’m sorry. But I’m back now. Pinkie swear.

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