Bravely baiting viewers’ expectations with the opening voice-over remark ”Even the most impossible parts of this story really happened,” The Ghost and the Darkness tries too hard to make us believe its tale of two man-eating lions that killed more than 100 railway workers in Kenya circa 1896. Michael Douglas plays a long-haired renegade who’s all solipsistic swagger as he leads Masai warriors to hunt the beasts; Val Kilmer gets across the intensity of his bridge-building mission, but he’s hampered by his on-again, off-again Irish brogue. Ultimately, director Stephen Hopkins’ suspenseful handling of the bloodthirsty carnivores’ attacks upstages both actors. Yet while this big-budget film doesn’t stint on gnashing teeth, it finally lacks the bite of Maneaters, a modest documentary. C+
Genre: Action/Adventure; Starring: Michael Douglas, Val Kilmer, Tom Wilkinson; Director: Stephen Hopkins; Author: William Goldman; Producer (person): Michael Douglas; Release Date Wide: 10/11/1996; Runtime (in minutes): 109; MPAA Rating: R; Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Posted April 18 1997 — 12:00 AM EDT
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