Thriller “Darkness by Day” delivers an unconventional lesbian storyline

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Let’s get some things out of the way: Thrillers not your cup of tea? You can stop reading now. Lesbian incest insanely creep you out? Hit the back button.

If I still have you, good news: Darkness by Day is actually a pretty interesting movie.

This Argentinian film predictably messes with the mind. What’s reality and what’s just a dream? What’s genuine lust and what’s demonic possession? And what the heck is happening to these young village women? 

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Our protagonist Virginia is living a quaint life with her father, the village doctor. Early on in the movie he leaves to visit her sick cousin Julia. But she’s not alone for long–a mysterious man drives up to her house and drops Julia’s unconscious sister off.

The woman with the striking blue eyes and questionable haircut is Anabel. She and Virginia are not particularly close, with Anabel having spent some time away at college. They certainly don’t interact like cousins who grew up around each other. That’s probably for the best.

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Both women struggle with strange dreams throughout the film. At one point Virginia finds Anabel passed out in the same forest she dreamt of frightfully running through. To add to the freakiness, the phones don’t seem to work at Virginia’s place, so they travel into the village to use a payphone. Again, no luck.

So they decide to pick up some wine from shopkeeper Lidia, who goes on and on about Virginia’s close friendship with her daughter Dani. Virginia dodges Anabel’s questions about Dani, making you think there was more than just friendship there. I have to say I hope that is the case, because it paints later events in a different perspective.

The first real instance of intimacy is right after their return from the village. With the record player on and some helpings of wine, they slow dance. After Virginia crashes early, Anabel sneaks out. It’s curious, as the wine was Anabel’s idea.

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What happens next is a strange mix of visions and events I can’t make sense of. And then suddenly Virginia’s father returns with her uncle, and it turns out Julia is dead.

Naturally Virginia tries to comfort Anabel, but she’s too numb to show any great sorrow over the loss of her sister. Now more than ever, Virginia thinks it’s a good idea for Anabel to live with her. Anabel’s feelings on the matter are unclear.

You know who wouldn’t be thrilled with the idea? The two dads. For reasons they don’t make clear, they want to keep the women apart.

Things only continue to get weirder. Lidia tells Virginia that a village girl has died, and gives her a charm bracelet to protect herself.

And because sharing is caring, Virginia cuts the bracelet and gives Anabel the other half while they’re in the bathroom together, away from the prying eyes of their fathers. It’s been a slow build up to this point and too good a chance to pass up. They kiss. And if you can look past the cousin thing, yeah, it’s hot.

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Even hotter is that when their fathers call out for them and break them out of their spell, they still go back in for another kiss, seemingly reaffirming their intentions. In other circumstances, we might have had quite the love story on our hands.

But, alas, it’s a horror movie. We need more victims and we need our villain. I’ll leave it up to you to guess who’s who.

Besides the subject matter, I have mixed feelings about Darkness by Day. Too slow at times and too fast at others, it’s unlikely it’ll become a cult classic. Nonetheless, I was entertained and would like to see more from director Martin Desalvo.

Darkness by Day does not have an official website. Check your local LGBT film festival to see if it is playing near you soon.

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