Three films don’t necessarily make a trend but with Outpost, The Ranger and now Lovely, Dark and Deep that’s more than the usual for a topic that is generally associated with the healthy outdoors and Yogi Bear.

However it’s easy to see how this could be attractive to filmmakers with the implicit danger of the outdoors and with latter two the loneliness that can have a terrible mental effect on the posted ranger.

Ranger Lennon (Georgina Campbell) is a newbie who during team talk and assignment acquaints herself with Ranger Jackson (Nick Blood). It’s a casual exchange and Lennon doesn’t let on that she is out there for her own reasons, which later on start to take over. This then has an impact on her work leading her to be cut out of a series of incidents that are plaguing the Rangers.

There have been a number of ranger disappearances which naturally begins to play on the Rangers’ minds seeing as their job description is pretty much to spend a lot of time alone. The appearances of black deer which could suggest earthy type black ritual and lore. That though is sort of jettisoned as Lennon begins to experience more transcendent feelings that in turn suggest powers further away.

Debut writer and director Teresa Sutherland has an eye for the landscapes and crafts some beautiful images. And gets some decent performances from her cast. The problem arises when the film moves into the second and third acts after a solid build up.

It just falls away as the forest setting becomes a place of weirdness generating hallucinations that torment Lennon, or maybe not. The film is always engaging and the structure is robust enough to hang the odder elements. It’s just there is very little tension as Lennon probes further into the Ranger mystery and her own family issues.

Lovely, Dark and Deep received its UK premiere at Halloween FrightFest 2023.