Clare (Deirdre Mullins) and Louise (Rebecca Calder) are a couple recovering from traumatic personal experiences, who book a sailing trip on the Caledonian Canal in Scotland to recover from their trauma and to try to repair their fractured relationship.
The stunning Highland scenery promises an idyllic time for them but it soon proves to be otherwise. They find themselves followed by a mysterious black barge crewed by very stange, sinister seeming people. Whenever they disembark from the boat they are confronted by a Scotland populated by disfunctional, uncommunicative weirdos. Even Sheila Hancock's seemingly well meaning old woman is so odd as to surely not be trusted. Voodoo dolls and occult windchimes that turn up in odd places add to the sense of unease and foreboding, as do the darkening skies and ample rain.
Louise and Claire are thoroughly modern to the point that they are more interested in whether they have wifi than making sure they have an adequate first aid kit on board the boat. They soon regret this.
I'm easily scared by films, but this didn't really scare me, even though it's billed as a tense psychological horror-thriller. I found myself looking at the occult windchimes and thinking 'oh that would be an interesting craft project!' rather than finding them particularly sinister.
I'm pretty certain Visit Scotland won't be using this film in any of their publicity. Note to anyone reading this outside Scotland, his film does not accurately represent Scottish people (though it does accurately represent our scenery and weather).
The Dark Mile was sold out for it's world premiere at Edinburgh International Film Festival earlier today but there are still tickets for tomorrow's screening at 2045 Tuesday 27 June at Cineworld.
here are links to the other films I've seen in the festival:
A Distant Echo.
God's Own Country.
Journey's through Time and Culture (review of Zer, Sami Blood and Donkeyote).
Two Films about our relationship with animals (review of Okja and The Challenge).
Leaning into the Wind.
My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea.
Disclaimer: I have a press pass for the Edinburgh International Film Festival and attended press screenings of these films.