The romance genre is known for being feminine. Its reoccurring themes include newly-discovered love, passion and, of course, heartbreak. When watching any sort of romantic film, one can expect to see at least one scene where the protagonists intensely kiss in the rain or a sequence in which the main character makes a mistake that jeopardizes his or her relationship to another character.
On the other side of the spectrum, the horror genre is known for almost the opposite. Perhaps a romance in its own right, horror films glamorize buckets of blood, mindless serial killers and teenagers with raging hormones. Horror movies aren’t supposed to make you happy – they’re supposed to scare you enough to become an insomniac.
Conor McPherson deserves praise for attempting to combine these polar opposites in his latest film “The Eclipse,” but, sadly, there is too little chemistry between the film’s two leads for it to be considered a romance and the mundane “scares” hinder its placement in the horror genre.
In “The Eclipse,” Ciarán Hinds plays Michael Farr, a widower who is convinced that he is seeing ghosts. Besides these supernatural occurrences, Farr also begins to fall in love with a visiting horror novelist named Lena Morelle (played by Iben Hjejle).
The plot is muddled and never really explained and McPherson jumps from the love-story to Farr’s haunting without warning. That being said, none of the characters are fleshed out and we, as the audience, are never exposed to a look at what could have been a complex protagonist. Instead we are presented with a cut-and-paste and ultimately emotionless Joe Schmoe.
To top it all off, the acting in the film is absolutely dreadful. The worst of these performances comes from Aidan Quinn, whose character is Nicolas Holden – a successful author turned drunk that is in love with Ms. Morelle. Quinn acts out his role with too much energy and thus bogs down Holden’s believability and instead turns him into a laughing stock.
“The Eclipse” also relies on amateur thrills that fail to scare anyone. Judging from the rest of the film, it’s no surprise that Farr’s haunting is never concluded.
Just like in an eclipse where the moon covers the sun, the originality and risk of McPherson’s “The Eclipse,” is covered by complete and utter failure.
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