Genre Guesstimation – The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)


The idea behind this feature (Genre Guesstimation) is for me to watch a bunch of new movies (or ones that I haven’t seen many times) from the chosen monthly GG genre in order to expand my knowledge of movies within that particular genre.

This month’s genre has been chosen by Barry of Cinematic Catharsis and we will be reviewing our favorite Nature Gone Berserk Movies.

Mother Nature usually takes care of us, with all the oxygen we can breathe, water we drink and cute bunnies we can pet, but what happens when she gets angry? Watch her unleash floods, earthquakes, volcanoes and animals gone mad.

Please get me your submissions by the 25th of Aug by sending them to berserkbarry@movierob.net

Try to think out of the box! Great choice Barry!

Let’s see if I felt that this movie would be worthy of being in the company of my others favorite movies in the genre of Nature Gone Berserk Movies.

“Darling… you know how God invented liquor so the Irish wouldn’t rule the world. Well, I think he may have invented being stubborn so we can be the best at something.” – John Patterson

Number of Times Seen – 1 (5 Aug 2019)

Brief Synopsis – An engineer begins a hunt for two lions that are attacking the workers of a railroad in Africa.

My Take on it – This is a film that I recall hearing about when it came out, yet never had much of a desire to see what it was all about until now.

The story is told in quite a thrilling way that is able to keep raising the level of tension.

The fact that this is based on truth helps make the viewer realize how dangerous it was at this time and place and helps add so much to the suspense of the story.

Val Kilmer was a great choice for the lead and does a fine job making hos character seem so realistic in the way that he tries to capture these animals.

This gives us even more confidence in his abilities throughout.

Michael Douglas is also quite good here, but his role seems more like a supporting one since his character isn’t the main focal point of the story.

The film expertly utilizes effects in order to make us truly believe these attacks and they look quite realistic throughout.

The problem with this film is the fact that it constantly feels much too distant and doesn’t allow for us to get a better feel for the time and place that it takes place in.

Had they done it differently, it’s possible that the story would come across as being much more poignant than it truly is.

Bottom Line – Very thrilling story that is able to find a way to keep the tension level at a point just out of reach. The fact that this is based on a true story helps add so much to the suspense of it all.  Kilmer is great in the lead and makes his character seem very realistic in all that he does which helps give us confidence in all that he attempts to do in order to stop these attackers. Douglas is also quite good here even if his character feels more like a mentor and should be considered as a supporting role instead of a lead one. The effects used to make us believe these attacks are real are done really well because it does come across quite realistic throughout. As good as this film is, something constantly seems missing that would make it even more poignant since it feels too distant which is quite a shame. Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Director Stephen Hopkins said about filming: “We had snake bites, scorpion bites, tick bite fever, people getting hit by lightning, floods, torrential rains and lightning storms, hippos chasing people through the water, cars getting swept into the water and several deaths of crew members including two drownings… Val came to the set under the worst conditions imaginable he was completely exhausted from doing The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996) he was dealing with the unfavorable publicity from that set, he was going through a divorce he barely had time to get his teeth into this role before we started filming, and he is in nearly every scene in this movie but I worked him 6 or 7 days a week for 4 months under really adverse conditions and he really came through, he had a passion for this film.” (From IMDB)

Genre Grandeur Worthy? – Comes close, but something is missing from this film that would make it much more poignant instead of distant.

Rating – Globe Worthy (7/10)

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3 thoughts on “Genre Guesstimation – The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)

  1. Pingback: Genre Grandeur August Finale – Grizzly Man (2005) – Cinematic Catharsis | MovieRob

  2. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1996 | MovieRob

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