Starring: Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin, Richard Crenna
Director: Terence Young
Running Time: 108 mins
Wait Until Dark is an American film about a woman, recently blinded in an accident, who becomes terrorised by three thieves in and around her home, searching for a heroin-stuffed doll that they are sure is in her apartment.
This was properly thrilling. From minute one, it’s a pounding, fast-paced, clever and very well-acted story, that kept me completely engrossed in its turning and twisting plot all the way through.
The one thing that you may overlook the importance of in this film is its score. However, it’s an eerie and unnerving piece of music that is pretty much somewhere in the background from start to finish, whether it’s pounding or a little quieter, and that definitely made this film a lot more suspenseful, adrenaline-pumping and even frightening.
In fact, going into this film, I had the impression that it was almost a horror movie, and while it has some elements of that genre, like jumpscares, an eerie score and some incredibly scary scenes, it’s more of a psychological crime thriller, so don’t think for a second that this is any sort of generic horror.
But what really makes this so scary/tense is how simple the whole affair is presented to be. There’s no wider picture, it’s just a collection of a maximum of five people in an isolated area, where almost no-one can hear you scream, and coupling the fact that the woman in peril is blind, and almost helpless, it doubles the fear you have.
However, I wouldn’t say that this woman is completely helpless, in fact nearly the opposite. She is significantly impaired by her blindness, and that gives a massive advantage to the thieves, however her intuitive and dedicated attitude to get out of the situation in any way she can is fantastic to see, rather than her just being a damsel in distress, so you can support her even more.
The performances in this film are also outstanding. Audrey Hepburn perfectly evokes all of the great qualities of this blind woman, and is so strong throughout, that you do absolutely love her by the end of this film. Meanwhile, Alan Arkin is almost the exact opposite. It’s a brilliant performance, but the way he portrays his character, the leader of the thieves, is petrifying, almost like a silent, but deadly character, with a cunning plan up his sleeve somewhere, and that creates some huge tensions, and gave me a lot of fear for his character.
Finally, the reason why this film is so tense and frightening is because of how real it is. It doesn’t rush its story, and seems to show it in what feels like real-time, while the concept of these three thieves terrorising someone like this is all too real as well.
Overall, this gets a 9.2, because it was an amazingly thrilling, realistic, scary film with some brilliant performances right in the middle.