Poor little critics sitting in their circle-jerk crying “where’s the plot?”
Let me tell you something. Ghosts are made up bullshit, but hauntings are real. More real than reality. I’ve seen dead people that I’ve lost in trauma, though nothing like Alice, the main character of Dark River, and that would be because I was never raped by said haunting when it was alive. But I’ve known someone who was, and the effects of this kind of trauma can’t be overstated.
Alice comes home when her father/rapist is dead. Critics whine in their little bitty voices “but why she comes home we don’t know.” Yes we do, buttercups, she comes home because he’s dead, and the land she earned with the price of her (literal) body and (metaphorical) soul is now hers. But even dead his power controls her life. This is the reality of a child raped by a parent.
“Oh, but where’s the plot,” the critics whine. Abuse is the plot, you dullards. Why do you even watch movies? Go watch Friends or something.
Look at what the abuse has done. Alice is ruined. She’ll never have a life. Look at her brother, Joe, wracked with guilt and shame and anger at Alice because he can’t understand her behavior. He’ll never have a life, although his final act of redemption to finally protect his sister seems to have saved some of his humanity in the end.
Where is the plot in a life that cannot include human intimacy, because it has been stolen from you when you were most vulnerable, by the very person who was supposed to protect and nurture it? Alice recoils from intimacy. From the moment a friend tries to comfort her when learning of her father’s death, to the emptiness of desperate one-night stands in the cabs of lorries, Alice exists in a world where human touch, human intimacy, love, affection, and gentleness have been taken from her. What the fuck is left?
Maybe they should have had someone at the end, just before the credits, telling us (and lying) everything was going to be alright. Just so the critics could have a little plot.
Everything’s not going to be alright. Not for Alice. Not ever.