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The Ghost and the Darkness hits its target as a suspenseful adventure, but it falls into a trap of its own making whenever it reaches for supernatural profundity. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Sir Robert Beaumont (Tom Wilkinson) is behind schedule on a railroad in Africa. Enlisting noted engineer John Henry Patterson (Val Kilmer) to right the ship, Beaumont expects results. Everything seems great until the crew discovers the mutilated corpse of the project's foreman (Henry Cele), seemingly killed by a lion. After several more attacks, Patterson calls in famed hunter Charles Remington (Michael Douglas), who has finally met his match in the bloodthirsty lions.

Cast & Crew

Michael Douglas
Charles Remington
Val Kilmer
Col. John Henry Patterson
Tom Wilkinson
Robert Beaumont
Bernard Hill
Dr. David Hawthorne
Brian McCardie
Angus Starling
Om Puri
Abdullah
Emily Mortimer
Helena Patterson
Michael Douglas
Executive Producer
Steven Reuther
Executive Producer
Jerry Goldsmith
Original Music
Vilmos Zsigmond
Cinematographer
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Critic Reviews for The Ghost and the Darkness

All Critics (49) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (24) | Rotten (25)

Audience Reviews for The Ghost and the Darkness

  • Jan 07, 2020
    Why has this not been mass released on Blu Ray or 4K? Shameful. On paper this would sound like a horror filmmakers dream, and at the time of release, I was a little reluctant to watch the film. I'm happy I did and have since watched it several times. It's quite annoying that the producers haven't transferred it to a decent upgrade as this is a wonderful film to look at. The film is unique and is fun to watch. Val Kilmer was coming off a string of bad press and this film was a much needed breath of fresh air for him. Michael Douglas is solid and gives this film more credibility than it actually deserved. The director has done a solid job and it's a shame to hear of the disagreements with editing for the final cut, it would be interesting to see a DC version now that the dust has settled. 05/01/2020
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Dec 22, 2015
    It's an embarrassing failure on all fronts, which is a shame as it squanders a perfectly good (and true) man vs. lion story. I think Kilmer and Douglas had a contest to see who's accent work could be worst (Spoiler alert: Kilmer won).
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Dec 06, 2011
    This movie is unintentionally hilarious with its cheesy lines and horrible acting. Michael Douglas turns in a hilariously bad performance while Val Kilmer is tolerable. The only thing that makes this movie interesting is that it is true (with Hollywood exaggerations of course).
    Sanjay R Super Reviewer
  • Apr 15, 2011
    Based on a true story, this is a suspenseful adventure yarn about the Tsavo Manhunters who terrorized laborers working on a railroad in East Africa in 1896. The Tsavo Manhunters are a pair of vicious lions who kill for sport, and seem unafraid of man and fire, and have an almost supernatural ability to sense danger and traps. The native workers name them the Ghost and The Darkness, due to their attack methods. Col. John Henry Patterson is a railroad engineer/big game hunter tasked with killing the lions and getting the railroad built on time. His efforts to succeed continually fail, so a wily American big game hunter named Charles Remington is brought in to help him out. Screenwriter William Goldman was originally wanting to meld Lawrence of Arabia with Jaws. The basic idea of that is onscreen, but unfortunately it isn't taking to the level it could have been. Maybe had a stronger director been attached... The film strays some from the original story, mostly by adding the fictional character of Remington, but still retains the gist and spirit of the actual events. The film is actually rather light on gore, and some of the action scenes are a bit too choppy and frenetic with how they're edited, but somehow the film is still rather suspenseful and gripping. Plus, it's got some good cinematography, and the deeper themes of imperialism and "white man as champion" are touched upon and dealt with somewhat, so that's cool. The music is also appropriately subversive at times, and tense when it needs to be. Val Kilmer is good as Patterson, and I like how they don't treat him as a total wimpy character. Michael Douglas is wildly scenery chewing as Remington, but perhaps a bit too over-the-top and goofy. Still though, his performance is rather fun to watch. A pre-fame Tom Wilkinson is good at the company man who doesn't care about the setbacks, and just wants his damn railroad built, and John Kani is decent as the native sidekick Samuel. All in all, this is a decent enough adventure thriller in the vein of old fashioned adventure serials. It's pretty flawed, and sometimes goofy, but I found myself more pleased with it than not, so give it a go.
    Chris W Super Reviewer

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