Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 1996. Constellation Entertainment, Douglas/Reuther Productions, Bernina Film, Mont Blanc Entertainment GmbH. Screenplay by William Goldman. Cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond. Produced by A. Kitman Ho, Gale Anne Hurd, Paul B. Radin. Music by Jerry Goldsmith. Production Design by Stuart Wurtzel. Costume Design by Ellen Mirojnick. Film Editing by Roger Bondelli, Robert Brown, Steve Mirkovich. Academy Awards 1996.
Terrifying thriller that plays like a land-bound Jaws has Val Kilmer as a 19th century engineer who travels to the wilds of Africa to oversee the building of a British bridge. Bickering workers of different cultures resist the project, but they are nothing compared to the setback of two flesh-eating lions that attack the compound every night and viciously murder countless victims. Michael Douglas shows up as a Civil War veteran safari hunter who has seen it all and is still aghast at the bloodlust these two creatures are showing; the natives begin to refer to them as ‘The Ghost and the Darkness’, believing they are two evil spirits since no lion hunts this often out of hunger. Atmospheric and exciting, the film has its lesser moments in some of its overly ripe dialogue, but is lushly filmed and directed at a frenetic pace. Fans of the film will want to visit the Bowmanville Zoo in Ontario where the two quadruped stars of the film now reside.