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Spoiler Space: Dark Places

Thoughts on, and a place to discuss, the plot details we can’t reveal in our review.

Of course the kids really were satanists. But they never sacrificed anyone, only stabbed some cows in a fit of drug-induced euphoria. So, relatively anyway, they weren’t so bad. At least they didn’t make up any stories about being molested in rituals dedicated to Satan, like Krissi Cates (Drea De Matteo) tearfully (and rather readily, considering they’ve only met once) admits to Libby halfway through the film.


Yep, this being a Gillian Flynn adaptation, pretty much everyone in Dark Places is horrible, except for angelic, long-suffering Patty (Christina Hendricks), who sacrifices herself for the good of her children in the most extreme way possible. Patty’s murder ends up being a desperate attempt to collect life-insurance money by staging her own death, a pact made between the cash-strapped single mom and a serial killer known as—drumroll please—the Angel Of Debt. Too bad the so-called professional killer failed to account for the presence of children in the house, popping middle child Debby (Madison McGuire) after she comes running out of her bedroom to protect her mother.

As for the third victim, Libby’s oldest sister Michelle (Natalie Precht), of course it was Ben’s pregnant girlfriend Diondra (Chloë Grace Moretz) who strangled her to death with her bare hands. This girl just snorted some homemade crank with a visible baby bump in a previous scene; obviously she’s a sociopath with no regard for human life. How did that kid turn out (physically) okay—mentally is a whole other story, as she’s been groomed to kill anyone who threatens to reveal the secret of her very existence in the film’s biggest twist—by the way? Flynn’s depiction of rich women as unstable creatures perpetually on the verge of snapping into a psychotic murder fit due to something as commonplace as parental negligence (or its opposite, in the case of Gone Girl’s Amazing Amy) is… troublesome. But is it misogynist? Or merely tawdry?

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