Darkness Unrated Version

Cover Art:5/10
The cover gives some hope that this movie is semi-creepy, even scary. They make an effort, I must say. It’s got the little Paquin face, but not slammed across the front like a magazine cover. If I were searching the store for a scary movie to rent, this one might catch my attention, and I might be disappointed when I crack it open. We shall see.

Features:2/10

  • Darkness Illuminated Behind The Scenes Special – They call this extra “Illuminated” but believe me it’s not all that. It’s too brief and fairly lame. There are a few interviews with the cast and the director talks about his vision for the film. We get to see some behind the scenes, but no real information about the mythology of the story, not much about how the sets were built, or anything that might make watching the film more interesting, unfortunately.
  • Theatrical Trailer – Blah
  • Teaser Trailer – Blah2

The Movie: 5/10:
This story rehashes the old theme of “haunted house/tortured dysfunctional family” syndrome. It’s the kind of film that after the first flickering lights and creepy sounds you are convinced that you personally would have had the U Haul in the driveway. But somehow characters in movies just don’t follow the logical path away from certain death. In fact, this time around we have a teenager who seems unnaturally brave. She faces some seriously unpleasantness in order to save her bitch of a mother, lame father, and typical innocent helpless little brother. I would save the brother and let the house digest those parents without looking back, I promise you that!

The mother is played well by Lena Olin, but the character is about as likeable, and worthy of saving from the darkness as a debt collector or telemarketer. She’s unsympathetic, flirts with her father-in-law, ignores her little son’s repeated bruising, and most of the time I wish she would be sucked into some hidden vortex of doom.

The father is annoying, the actor and his character. I know he’s troubled, fair enough, but he’s not sympathetic either, so basically I couldn’t care any less if they are consumed by the unexplained darkness that looms over their house. That makes it hard to watch the movie because when you don’t care what happens to the characters the tension is gone, the creepy factor drops considerably, and eventually it all gets a little bit boring and predictable.

I do care about the little boy so that kept me going throughout the film. I didn’t really care about Paquin, even though I thought she did a good job in several scenes. Most of the time though, she was being a weird kind of impish teenage girl with too much pouting, too much strange posture, and not enough UMPFF to be a heroic chick.

The sets are pretty cool. I will give them that much. The house is not a place I would be moving into anytime soon, but as far as haunted houses go, it’s a good place for bad stuff to happen. The camera work is actually really good. Even if the story isn’t that scary the director did his best to make different scenes more chilling, more intimidating, and that does draw you in more than characters or what they are going through. There are a lot of cheap attempts of messing with your head like flashes of gore, and of children running, screaming, things like that. It all does add up to some tension and you can’t help but have a few extra heart beats. The problem is, once the people start talking again, or the story tries to move ahead, you go back to being bored.

How many times do we have to be subjected to the “something bad happened in this house and now it’s happening again” thing? It’s interesting sometimes, but when the story isn’t solid, as is the case with Darkness, it all falls apart. The explanation for the “Darkness” is muddled, unclear, and not really that intriguing. It does involved some evil kind of stuff, sacrificing children isn’t exactly a light hearted theme. Coming out the other side of the film you may be left confused and unsatisfied, even with that kind of hardcore bad stuff going on. It certainly doesn’t rise to the level of stories like Seven, The Sixth Sense, Poltergeist, or the classic The Exorcist. Not that that is a fair standard, but you get the picture. It’s an attempt at that depth of fear, but doesn’t quite get there, well, doesn’t even get close.

Value: 2/10

$20.00, TOO much. Rent it if you are curious, or if you appreciate creepy movies. This disc has nothing to offer but the one crappy extra and a painfully average film. If you LOVE it and just have to own it, please consider waiting a few months until it’s in the bargain bin at your local Wally World, or other discount super store mecca.

Overall Score 4/10