ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – H – Havana Darkness (2018) Movie Review

Director: Guillermo Ivan

Writer: Barry Keating (Screenplay) Loris Curci, Magarditch Halvadjian, Guillermo Ivan (Story)

Starring: Carolina Ravassa, Jack Dimich, Zach Rose, Guillermo Ivan, Monte Bezell, Hannah D Scott

Plot: Travelling to Havana, Cuba, to investigate the origins of a mysterious manuscript supposedly written by acclaimed American novelist, Ernest Hemingway, three friends are thrust into a terrifying game of cat and mouse when they find themselves trapped inside an abandoned building nestled in the centre of the country’s vibrant capital. With time running out fast the threesome must manoeuvre through a maze of deadly traps to find a way out of the building before they’re hunted down.

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Standard Thriller

Story: Havana Darkness starts when Carlos (Ivan) has been studying Ernest Hemingway for years, he learns of a potential lost manuscript in Cuba, which sees him travel with his friends John (Rose) and Karen (Ravassa) to Cuba to see if he could unlock the secrets being the rumour.

Once in Cuba Carlos learns about a house which he wants to investigate, only for the three friends to find themselves thrown into a twisted game of life and death.

Thoughts on Havana Darkness

Characters – Carlos is the one that has been research Hemingway, Cuba would give him a chance to learn more about a mysterious manuscript, he becomes obsessed with learning more, which sees him lead his friends into the death trap. Karen and John are the couple that are supporting their friend, they do want to have fun, with the idea of going to the house being the last resort before they look to celebrate. We don’t learn much more about the three other than they are friends which doesn’t explain when one seems to become a true warrior.

PerformancesThe film uses three main performances, we do see the friendship come through strongly between them, but when it comes to learn anything else about who they are, we do feel like something is missing from the delivery.

StoryThe story here follows three friends that head to Cuba in search of a missing manuscript only finding themselves in the middle of a twisted game where they must fight to survive. This does play into the idea of searching for adventure or inspiration, only it doesn’t seem to get going on that side of things. Once we enter the game, it does become a lot more interesting, even if it does end up going on longer than it needs to.

ThrillerThis does try to keep us on edge with how Carlos is feeling around the city, only it isn’t as intense as it wants to be, while the game moves at a faster pace.

SettingsThe film uses the Cuba backdrop, this does show us how the investigation can turn heads the wrong way if the wrong people hear about what is wanted, with the game being inside one house with no escape.


Scene of the Movie – The game intro.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The slow exploring around Cuba.

Final Thoughts This is a thriller that doesn’t seem to get started and ends up just stuttering along without becoming too impactful.

Overall: Disappointing thriller.

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