A fantastic thriller based on an incident in history, this movie is a oft-ignored classic. Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas star in this gritty face-off with two lions that repeatedly attack a group of workers on the rail lines through Africa in 1898. The lions - named The Ghost and The Darkness by the largely Muslim group of railroad builders - are man-eaters, a rare but not unheard of phenomenon among the animal species. Kilmer plays Lt. Col. John Patterson, a construction engineer who has never met a bridge he couldn't get built. When sent to Africa, a place he has dreamed of visiting, Patterson encounters a challenge he hadn't considered - lions attacking the men.
When initial attempts at killing the lion have failed and Patterson is dangerously close to admitting defeat, well-known hunter Charles Remington - played by Michael Douglas - arrives to help. Their combined efforts, however, are not enough to prevent more deaths. The workmen flee in terror, swarming a train as it leaves the work site. Only Patterson, Remington and Mahina, a friend of Remington's and the foreman on the bridge project, remain. Partial success is achieved when a trap set for the lions kills one of the two. However, when tragedy again strikes, Patterson is driven to finish the situation once and for all. A daring one-on-one face-off with the remaining lion ensues.
The movie weaves several secondary story lines into the main plot, including the fact that Patterson's wife is about to give birth to their first child back in England and his guilt at leaving her alone to deal with that event, the religious and political undercurrents in Africa during this time of great progress, and the arrogance of foreigners who enter the camps intent on saving everyone only to inevitably make matters worse when ignoring important facets of life well-known to African natives.