The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)


Irish Engineer John Patterson (Val Kilmer) has been tasked by a railroad company to build a bridge over a river in Africa; the catch is that he only has five months in which to complete his task, and his a-hole boss will not accept failure.   No big whoop; he’s good at what he does, plus his wife is preggers and due in six months, so he will be home by then.  Upon arriving in Africa, he sets to work, only to have one of the workers attacked by a lion.  It just so happens that Patterson is an expert hunter, so he camps out in the trees that night and kills the beast responsible, which equals a big hero for the locals.  Things go on without incident for a few more weeks, which is until another lion attack.

This time it isn’t so much as a bite and a complete dismemberment.  The local workers are scared but he killed the lion last time he can do it again.  Time and time again the beast kills and evades his capture, but that’s because there are two lions, and they are good at what they do: kill humans for the fun of it.  With his boss on his case, Patterson brings in an American professional hunter named Remington (Michael Douglas) to kill the animals, but he doesn’t fare much better. With the death toll over 40, the rest of the workers scram leaving Remington and Patterson to face the beasts alone.

Alex’s Thoughts:  This movie got slammed by critics when it came out, and watching it, you can easily see why: Kilmer can’t do any sort of an accent and Michael Douglas rushes through everything like he would rather be somewhere else.  Main acting aside, the rest of the movie is good in my opinion, and I have always liked this flick.  The story is great (and true) and it’s set in a beautiful location.  The effects are spotty, but working with live lions probably isn’t the easiest thing in the world.  I can overlook the acting because it is a good story, and hopefully this might get remade someday with some good CGI effects. This will want to make you rush to the Field Museum in Chicago to see the lions that killed at least 100 men, which are there on display. Alex Rates This Movie 7/10 

Tim’s Thoughts:I think Kilmer’s Irish accent is fine, and while Micheal Douglas isn’t amazing in this, the rest of the characters are pretty interesting. The pacing is snappy, and the story moves along well and keeps your attention. I liked this movie a lot when it first came out, and my opinion hasn’t changed. The directing is solid and the story holds up, I need to do some research to see how true all of the movie is, but I have seen the lion at the Field Museum, so I know that much is real. Tim Rates This Movie 8/10


View the IMDB entry for this movie here.