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Cinematic Sominex that feels like it was tailor-made for immediate simultaneous broadcast on the Lifetime Channel and the Oxygen Network, Half Light is a thriller with no thrills, a drama with no drive, and a romance with no heart. Ridiculously overused plot devices, blatantly bland concepts, and effortlessly predictable occurences ... those it's got in spades.
Demi Moore, apparently free of all that "career resurgence" that her performance in Charlie's Angels 2 provided, stars here as world-famous novelist Rachel Carlson, a woman shattered by the accidental drowning of her young son and looking for a big healthy dose of solitude in her big creepy cottage inside a deserted Scottish village. Which is on an island.
Why authors struck by family tragedies seem predisposed towards holing themselves up in isolation is anybody's guess, but I think it comes from the fact that screenwriters are lazy.
So if you've already assumed that A) Rachel starts seeing visions of her dead son, B) that she begins writing with next to no trouble at all, and C) she finds a young Oyrish lighthouse keeper to warm her bed at night, then you've probably already seen all the movies that writer/director Craig Rosenberg has.
To be fair, the movie is packed with beautiful and majestic vistas of the small Scottish village (even though Half Light was shot in Wales). Unfortunately, Mr. Rosenberg is so smitten with his exteriors that he lingers endlessly on the sweeping exposition shots, all of which are set to the strains of the weepiest violin strains and tinkly piano-doodlings this side of Musical Purgatory.
On and on plods Half Light, doling out perhaps one identifiable plot point every 9.5 minutes. There are numerous flashbacks and ponderous dream sequences that punctuate the airy narrative, but they add very little emotional resonance while making a chore of a movie feel a whole lot longer. The still-lovely Ms. Moore does a fine job with a single-note character, although asking a veteran actor to pull off a role like this is like asking an old-school baker to make you one single cookie.
Bottom line? Half Light is a movie that trots out the old "You can't have talked to [Character X] last night! [Character X] has been dead for seven years!" schpiel, and treats the thing like it's still got some juice in the batteries.
Video: On one hand, I could say that the movie is presented in a pretty damn crisp and impressive widescreen format, but the screener disc I was asked to review had disclaimers running through the movie, plus the color would occasionally (intentionally) switch over to black & white every 10 minutes. How this method is meant to prevent movie piracy, I've no idea, but I can't offer a grade here with any sort of accuracy.
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0, with the omnipresent score oozing out of my every speaker.
Extras: The screener I watched had just a bunch of trailers on it.
I just don't get it. Demi Moore could have signed on for any variety of studio flicks after Charlie's Angels 2, yet her next effort is an obscure, no-name, and rather boring psycho-thriller that nobody will express a whole lot of interest in. Maybe the gal needs a new agent or something, but I'd like to see her make a real comeback someday soon.