Dark Places

  • Studio: A24
  • Release Date: Aug 7, 2015

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 19
  2. Negative: 7 out of 19

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Lisa Nesselson
    Apr 7, 2015
    Slouching Theron is absolutely convincing as a self-loathing haunted soul with zero ambition. As the town’s “rich slut,” Chloe Grace Moretz gives yet another pitch-perfect performance. Both actresses elevate the material, making a somewhat far-fetched story both believable and enjoyable.
  2. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Aug 7, 2015
    Theron makes Libby a bristling, emotionally crippled live wire, her anger, guilt, and distrust bubbling to the surface with the slightest provocation. She's neither quite as fascinating nor nearly as despicable a character as "Gone Girl"'s Amazing Amy, but director Gilles Paquet-Brenner is no David Fincher.
  3. Reviewed by: Katie Rife
    Aug 6, 2015
    Aside from the A-list cast, there isn’t much to differentiate Dark Places from an especially grim TV movie.
  4. Reviewed by: Miriam Di Nunzio
    Aug 6, 2015
    Dark Places does its best to stir a multitude of emotions within us, but in doing so, the film feels contrived and hurried.
  5. Reviewed by: Jordan Mintzer
    Apr 7, 2015
    This plot-heavy suspense flick loses some of the book’s originality in translation while failing to channel its sense of Midwestern malaise. But it keeps the guessing game going long enough to compensate for some otherwise shallow characterizations, while Theron offers up an earnest and downbeat turn that says a lot with little dialogue
  6. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Apr 7, 2015
    As heroines go, it’s refreshing to get one as complex as this: When psychologically scarred female characters do turn up in thrillers, they’re usually little more than shivering victims who set a group of male cops in motion, but here, Libby does her own detective work, while Hendricks lends star power to the flashback scenes.
  7. Reviewed by: Chris Nashawaty
    Aug 4, 2015
    It’s never pushed far enough. Instead, Dark Places just becomes an overstuffed, low-simmer potboiler with too many improbable detours and overly convenient twists.
  8. 50
    As a result, the mystery itself eventually becomes tiresome and shrug-worthy, even as the film breathlessly racks up the revelations. In the end, this twisty thriller just winds up twisting in the wind.
  9. Reviewed by: David Lewis
    Aug 6, 2015
    Dark Places isn’t a disaster of a film. Instead, it’s the definition of average, and we wish it could have taken us to some more interesting places.
  10. Reviewed by: Jessica Kiang
    Jun 19, 2015
    Without the spiky irony of Flynn's first-person writing (the enjoyable Jim Thompson-esque noirisms that pepper the novel, like "I have a meanness in me, real as an organ" occur only rarely) Paquet-Brenner shears the text of any richness, to have it unfold instead in a relentlessly grim manner, less intriguing and evocative than straight-up dour.
  11. Reviewed by: Barbara VanDenburgh
    Aug 6, 2015
    Inexpert execution, lazy attention to detail and a lackluster lead performance conspire to render a juicy mystery rather boring.
  12. Reviewed by: Amy Nicholson
    Aug 6, 2015
    [Paquet-Brenner] squanders Dark Places' icky setup for a rote investigation to find the real killer, a revelation greeted not with a "What?!" but with a "Whatever."
  13. 38
    Dark Places lacks the gloomy meditative quality that Gone Girl rode to success on, with none of the grace or subtlety necessary in making a convoluted thriller a watchable enterprise.
  14. Reviewed by: Brian Tallerico
    Aug 7, 2015
    It makes sense that another of Flynn’s novels, the sinister Dark Places, would get the cinematic treatment as well, although this failed exercise could be used comparatively with “Gone Girl” as a What Not to Do cinematic lesson.
  15. Reviewed by: Robert Abele
    Aug 6, 2015
    In writer-director Gilles Paquet-Brenner's hands, it's a convoluted, airless procedural that generates practically no suspense and little that's thematically resonant about lost souls and poisoned memories.
  16. Reviewed by: Jen Chaney
    Aug 6, 2015
    Paquet-Brenner has assembled a talented cast.... Yet he elicits mostly unmemorable performances from just about everyone involved.
  17. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Aug 6, 2015
    Grim, ridiculous, and dull.
  18. Reviewed by: Chuck Bowen
    Aug 4, 2015
    The payoff is a huge and telling visual howler, summarizing the entire plot with a blithe indifference that will inevitably mirror the audience's.
  19. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Aug 12, 2015
    One of 2015’s dullest.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 25 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Aug 12, 2015
    A 7 year old daughter survives the brutal murder of her mother and 2 sisters. Fast forward to the adult version (Charlize Theron), when she'sA 7 year old daughter survives the brutal murder of her mother and 2 sisters. Fast forward to the adult version (Charlize Theron), when she's contacted by people who believe in the innocence of her brother, who was jailed for the crime. The film alternates between her search for the truth and the events that led up to the that traumatic night. The narrative takes its time to unfold, but maintains interest thru strong direction and compelling performances. Even though Gillian Flynn's ("Gone Girl") plot is busy with coincidences, it's still interesting and even manages a bit of suspense in the final scenes. Full Review »
  2. Aug 9, 2015
    The story is interesting, but this lacks the technical polish of Flynn's Gone Girl with director David Fincher. It should be noted that sheThe story is interesting, but this lacks the technical polish of Flynn's Gone Girl with director David Fincher. It should be noted that she adapted her screenplay, as opposed to Dark Places, where she did not. The script suffered and the edited and inferior photography did not help. Editing feels confusing at times, but some of that would be a challenge as the story jumps around in time more than most. I was surprised to see Flynn's Gone Girl follow-up with Oscar-winner Charlize Theron attached not get more of a release, but now I know why. The film as a whole does not work. Full Review »