Whenever a book is made into a movie, I’m always the first in line to see it. I TRY to make sure to read the book first if I haven’t, but that’s usually a non-issue. I love to read, so chances are I’ve already read the book before the movie even decides to come out. In this case, I read the book a few years back, even before Gillian Flynn wrote Gone Girl. I literally picked up her first two books, Dark Places and Sharp Objects, at an airport as a one-book set. I had finished both stories before returning from vacation four days later. And that began my obsession with murder/mystery/thriller novels, to be honest.
As an Amazon Prime member, I noticed that the movie, Dark Places, was offered for Prime members through October 22nd. (Get on that if you’re interested!) I immediately added it to my list and got to watching it the next free evening I had.
I’ve seen a lot of people posting Book VS Film posts, so I decided to jump on the bandwagon.
Goodreads Synopsis: Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice” of Kinnakee, Kansas. She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben. Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club—for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.
Dark Places deals with some heavy issues, including the class system, poverty in the Midwest, and the Satanic cult scare during the 80s regarding teens. Libby Day, as the lone survivor of the “The Satan Sacrifice”, grows up lazy, angry, and alone. I loved her character, and at times I loved to hate her character.
As she begins to investigate her family’s murder, she slowly begins to question what it is she actually saw that night, and begins to put the pieces together. From the title itself, she digs deep into some serious dark places inside of herself to better understand what everyone believes her brother did.
The ending threw me for a loop, I remember that much. Everything Libby thought she knew and remembered was wrong, and the revelation almost cost her life. This was a knockout book for me, and it kickstarted my thriller obsession!
I have always been a HUGE fan of Charlize Theron, and her being cast as Libby Day was the best decision for this movie. She pulls off the angry, lonely woman strapped for cash so well, and her interactions during her investigation into her family’s murder are spot on. I even loved her narrations and internal monologues. She’s funny, she’s angsty, she’s honest. Just like the Libby Day in the novel. I do admit that her appearance doesn’t fit the bill, along with the other cast members, but it’s a difficult achievement to fit character descriptions EXACTLY.
And that was pretty much the only great thing about the movie version. Some performances were well done, but I just don’t think that the flashbacks from present to past translated really well onto the screen. I enjoyed watching Libby’s investigation during the present day, but I got a bit bored during the flashbacks. They did get better as the story unfolded, but I wasn’t completely satisfied.
For the most part, the movie did follow the book almost exactly. I don’t recall any MAJOR differences to plot or characters that drew up any red flags. I definitely thing they toned down some of the racier scenes that were played out in the movie involving sex, drugs and molestation. But I can guess that’s for the better.
One thing I HAVE to get off my chest, though, is Chloe Grace Moretz. SERIOUSLY?? I don’t know HOW she’s getting all of these bad-girl roles, from Carrie to this one. I. Just. Can’t. See. It. She’s way too innocent-school-girl for me. [End Rant]
OBVIOUSLY, I prefer the book to the movie, which is typical in most cases for me. But, I wasn’t too fond of the movie in general. It’s not that it wasn’t well done or anything. I just don’t think the plot translated well to the screen. In the end, it just fell flat in comparison.
Did you read the book and watch the movie? What did you think??