Prayer Focus
Movie Review

Darkness

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for terror/violence and language

Reviewed by: Douglas Downs
STAFF WRITER

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Horror, Mystery
Length:
1 hr. 35 min.
Year of Release:
2004
USA Release:
______
Copyright, Dimension Films (Miramax)
Copyright, Dimension Films (Miramax)
Copyright, Dimension Films (Miramax)
Copyright, Dimension Films (Miramax)
Copyright, Dimension Films (Miramax)
Copyright, Dimension Films (Miramax)
Featuring: Anna Paquin, Lena Olin, Iain Glen, Stephan Enquist, Giancarlo Giannini
Director: Jaume Balagueró
Distributor: Dimension Films (Miramax)

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “There’s something in this house… Something ancient and dark that remains still, hidden and silent. It can only wait, having been concealed in the shadows for years. In fact, its milieu is darkness. Only in it can it show itself and move. It even takes its name: DARKNESS. It’s lived here since someone tried to call it, more than forty years ago. Because this house hides a secret, a terrible past, and inconceivably evil act… Seven children, faceless people, a circle that must be completed. And blood, lots of blood…

But something went wrong. One of the children got away. The circle wasn’t completed. That’s why what lives here isn’t finished. It’s just waiting… It tries to carry out what it couldn’t before, making plans in the shadows, to become complete, to be, to exist… A new family has just moved into the house. A small child. An unstable father capable of losing his temper at any time. A perfect target. The right place at the right time. The pieces only have to be put in place. And then wait… Maybe the family’s daughter will be able to discover the truth; the dark secret of the past, the sinister conspiracy, the truth about what threatens them. Why is the father getting worse? What is her little brother afraid of? Why doesn’t her mother listen to her? And why do the lights keep going out?

It could be nothing happens by chance, that everything has been worked out from the start. A devilish plan, precise and exact like a time-bomb. Her father’s illness, the house, the circles, the children… Perhaps she can foresee darkness’ master stroke of play and the inevitable destiny that is closing in on her family. But maybe it’s too late.”

Review of theatrical release version (not the uncut DVD version)

I don’t know.a horror film at Christmas?! Let me begin by saying this is a horrible movie at Christmas or anytime. “Darkness” is a Spanish production that has been sitting on the Dimension Film shelves for the past 2 years. Yes, this is another one of those projects that could have stayed locked away deep inside the film vaults. Direct-to-video would have been sufficient, but director Jaume Balaguero got a definite gift.

This is a very dark, depressing movie about submitting to death and destruction.

The story begins in a typical connect the dots fashion for this genre. Horror film fans already know the drill. A family moves into a new home, and then creepy things begin to happen. Our not-so-mysterious mystery is built around a suffering father (Giancarlo Giannini) and a caring son (Lian Glen). The son made the move because his dad had experienced several violent fits. He was the sole survivor of weird happening the resulted in the deaths of several children.

Quicker than you can say “predictable,” the caring son’s daughter (Anna Paquin) and son (Stephen Enquist) are at risk. The spirits of six children begin to expose the fact that grandpa may just have a hidden agenda. The mom (Lena Olin) is in denial of any problems.

“Darkness” is a hopeless and meaningless trip down Terror Lane. The acting is so so. The filming is dark and mediocre. It won’t take viewers long to see why this movie was held back. It might take you a little bit longer to figure out why it was released at all. I must also note that this movie was originally rated “R” and edited to fit the PG-13 standards.

You may not be too excited by the other Holiday releases. Let me just say you can skip this one at both the box office and the rental.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Minor

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Negative—I saw this movie only to view it from a Christian point of view. It begins very slow, continues in a boring fashion. There are obvious signs of demon activity early on in the movie as the older sister recognizes something is terribly wrong with her younger brother. No one believes her, etc. Basically, it proves that demonic activity is real and does occur in darkness, God is light. The entire family dies. After viewing the movie, I decided no more viewing this type of film, it is not healthy, as a Christian. I do not recommend it, save your money for something uplifting.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive/1]
—S. Blackburn, age 50
Neutral—I enjoy a good scary movie, but one of the most frequent trends in horror films is never using the films premise to bring on full-scare potential. That is just one of the problems with “The Darkness,” a film actually released overseas back in 2002 (with an “R” equivalent rating). There is really nothing special about this movie and by the time it has ended you really don’t know what to think. This perhaps is because much of the movie was edited to fit the PG-13 requirements for American audiences. I have nothing against this sort of editing, but many important plot points and explanations were removed as such.

In the end you really don’t understand the movie, and it’s not because you didn’t pay attention. It’s because there are a bunch of missing pieces. From what is presented, there are a few scares throughout; however, much of the suspense is supposed to be drawn from the dimly lit environment the characters live in. I say “supposed to be” because the gimmick gets old very fast. The characters are also nothing interesting and Anna Paquin plays the stereotypical “person in trouble but has to save the world” role. Ultimately, “The Darkness” does not scare and is too scrambled plot-wise to leave you with anything. Not worth your time.

Objectionable content: This movie dapples in the occult and child sacrifice (not seen, but discussed), which is certainly not of God. Profanity is not too present, but there is one instance of the “F” word and sexual content is not an issue.
My Ratings: [Average/2]
—Charles, age 20

Comments from young people
Negative—This is a very bad film. If you must see it you should wait a few months and buy it in the $2 video bin. That is better than paying $8 to see it once at the theater. Not worth it!
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive/1]
—AW, age 16
Negative—This movie wasn’t so much objectional as it was a waste of time. I don’t remember hearing any swear words except for in the beginning when the Father and his son are stuck in traffic and they say the “a” word a few times. There is no sex/nudity that I noticed except for when Carlos (a boy who is interested in Regina) tries to kiss her but she leaves. The movie is hard to understand and it is not explained until the end. The movie ends very abruptly and very confusingly! You can only assume what happens! The overall atmosphere of the movie is dark talking about death, cultic spells, and sacrifices. It’s kinda creepy, but just very disappointing!
My Ratings: [Better than Average/2]
—Erinn Streckfuss, age 16