Is 'Dark Places' A Sequel To 'Gone Girl'? The New Movie Is Yet Another Nasty Creation Of Gillian Flynn
Look, I'm right where you are. The David Fincher adaptation of Gillian Flynn's novel Gone Girl spit me out onto a sunny Manhattan sidewalk, dazed and wanting more. How would the rest of Amy and Nick Dunne's life go? Would one of them disappear again, or even die? Would Amy's madness lay dormant or bubble up again? What other catastrophes could the couple's searing hatred of each other cause? And what about their poor kid? Just over a year after Gone Girl's release, another messed-up Gillian Flynn creation is making the leap into film. Dark Places is available on VOD on August 7, and stars Charlize Theron as another indelible female character like her soul sister Amy Dunne. Will this new movie answer those questions that the last one left audiences with? Is Dark Places a sequel to Gone Girl?
While Dark Places originated in the same mind as Gone Girl, it's a separate and self-contained story. In fact, Dark Places was actually published before Gone Girl. Screenwriter and director Gilles Paquet-Brenner has been working on transferring it to another medium since 2012, and Gone Girl just happened to beat it to the screen. In Dark Places, Theron's character Libby Day lives in a universe far from the one that the Dunnes' inhabit. She's one of two survivors of the violent massacre of her family. The other survivor is her brother Ben, who's in jail for the crime, and it was young Libby's testimony that put him there. When the novel begins, she's living in new poverty, the proceeds from the fund strangers contributed to in her youth is drying up. Libby's world is trailer parks and dive bars, not exactly like Nick and Amy's McMansion and well-lit hotel conference rooms.
Still, the stories share a quietly savage sensibility. In Dark Places, Libby takes a job of sorts from a "Kill Club," a group of crime-obsessed weirdos who believe her brother is innocent and think she can provide the proof. From there, Libby and Kill Club member Lyle (Nicholas Hoult) follow the fraying threads of her life story to a number of unsavory individuals, some of whom are Libby's own flesh and blood. Even though the characters lead a different lifestyle than those in Gone Girl, I still see the similarity. Across the board, Flynn's characters are bold and self-serving. Rarely is any one of them out for the greater good.
So, are any hopes for a Gone Girl sequel as existentially bleak as a Gillian Flynn novel? Probably not, but you never know. Flynn herself says that she's open to returning to those characters. In January at a BAFTA LA event, the author mused, "We could pick it up and see what those crazy Dunnes are up to a few years down the road and if they got on — not well I don't think." (Same.) Another Gone Girl super-fan angling for a Dunne update? Charlize Theron, who wants the sequel as much as you do, or maybe more. She told E! News all about her plan for getting Flynn to commit to Gone Girl 2, and it includes several stiff drinks: "I'll get her drunk tonight and make her sign a contract." Sounds like something Libby Day would do. Or even Amy Dunne.
Even though Dark Places and Gone Girl are not related by plot or character, the newer film is sure to appeal to fans of the Fincher thriller. And maybe that elusive Gone Girl sequel isn't too far off after all.