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Overall Rating
1.58

Awesome: 4.17%
Worth A Look: 0%
Average: 4.17%
Pretty Bad: 33.33%
Total Crap58.33%

4 reviews, 24 user ratings


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Darkness
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by Laura Kyle

"Darkness doesn't scare me -- it just makes me want to go to bed."
1 stars

...go to bed... or KILL MYSELF. Someone forgot to tell writer/director Jaume Balaguero he was making a movie, more specifically a thriller. This is the most anticlimactic piece of dung I’ve watched in recent memory.

What happens when you stick a Canadian, a Swede, a Scotsman, an Italian, and a little kid from Singapore into an American family of an English speaking film written and directed by a Spaniard?

Some weirdly stilted acting and a whole lot of confusion, that’s what.

Canadian actress Anna Paquin heads the cast as teenage girl Regina, who has just moved from the States to I guess, Spain, with her family. The Swedish Lena Olin is her cold, irrational mother Maria, the young Singaporean Stephen Enquist (mother Spanish, father Swedish) is the default little boy who sees things (don’t leave home without one, scary movies!), and the Scottish Iain Glen is short-fused father Mark, who is well, um, losing it.

Grandfather, played by Italian Giancarlo Gianni, is the family doctor who medicates son Mark for a mysterious psychological disorder (see “short fused” above and add on “psychotic”). If you don’t immediately pin the grandfather as suspicious, then you are officially a dumbass. Continue watching the movie.

The real problem of the no-last-name family is the haunted house they’ve moved into. Something horrific happened there years and years ago, blah blah blah blah blah blah (yes, that's SIX blah's), and of course it involves children. Because if it didn’t, you wouldn’t have scary ghost kids lurking around the old house.

So anyways, if I had a penny for every accent I heard in this movie, I’d be rich! Well, I’d have probably about 8 pennies. But still – with the exception of the intentional Spanish/Italian dialects (I assume), this movie’s a mess. I can’t be bothered with describing in detail of how I heard a British accent more than once, from more than one character, and none of the main actors are or play Brits. Bollocks, I say.

The acting is strangely self-conscious and not at all believable… but not for lack of talent necessarily. I imagine Balaguero was yelling at them in Spanish while the cameras were rolling and they were just confused.

The real problem with Darkness though, is not the cast. Balaguero has a pretty likeable style and an eye for imagery, but he can’t tell a story for the life of him. He gives away a good deal of the mystery early on, only saving the story elements no audience member is really curious about for the end, and really doesn’t even fully explain them anyways.

His haunted house is eerie enough and he manages to execute a few scenes that are quite interesting, but that’s about it. The result is a hard to understand (but not because it’s remotely intelligent) wannabe haunted house story, that’s way too bogged down in atmosphere to ever get a meaningful word in.

The admittedly creepy ghosts that haunt the house don’t make a lick of sense – and I get them mixed up with the other force in the house, we'll call it "evil," that can climb on the walls and shape-shift, but only when it’d give the moviegoer a special thrill for it to do so.

Balaguero clearly wants to mislead you so he can then give you a good surprise. Thanks for the effort, dude... but... you know when you’re playing hide-and-seek with a little kid? And they go crouch behind a couch, and you can see their feet sticking out? Well, you pretend to not know where they are, and play along, right? Well, for the most part, I was just playing along; only to be slapped in the face by one of the lamest endings EVER.

There’s no actual end to the story (I wouldn’t even call it a cliffhanger, just lazy screenwriting); there’s not even a clear middle, and god forbid Darkness try to pull as many frights as it can out of its PG-13 rating (it hardly tries to get a good scare out of you). It’s all just a senseless waste of a halfway decent premise. Stick it where the sun don't shine, indeed, Darkness! You suck.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11001&reviewer=369
originally posted: 05/02/05 06:04:18
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 ScreamFest L.A. Horror Festival. For more in the 2004 ScreamFest L.A. series, click here.

User Comments

9/22/17 morris campbell dull unscary crap 1 stars
1/18/10 art MS.PAQUIN is SUCH A HAM!,it should be called "HAMMINESS' INSTEAD! 1 stars
11/16/09 art ANNA PAQUIN LOK"S NO MORE SILLIER THAN SHE DID IN FLY AWAY HOME! 1 stars
6/10/09 CTT Unwatchable mess 1 stars
10/09/06 Jim Like a bad Season 7 episode of "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" 2 stars
6/05/06 mary a total waste of time 1 stars
6/04/06 William Goss The atmosphere is there, but no other comprehensible element is. As blegh as horror gets. 1 stars
10/12/05 Tom Burns Not very scary, and not very good. 2 stars
9/11/05 Karen Illogical, meandering, confused, just incredibly bad. 1 stars
8/18/05 ES wasted film- another kid sees bad things and no one believes him piece o crap 1 stars
8/15/05 .:*paris*:. the worst ending i hav eva seen!,boring and no decent story 1 stars
6/20/05 greensweater I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me 1 stars
5/31/05 Ras From bad to worse to waste...use the two hours of your life for ANYTHING else 1 stars
5/19/05 ad not much to this one 2 stars
5/07/05 Amy Riggsby Scary movie to me, but a horrible ending. 3 stars
5/07/05 edsandiego2 It's not really that scarry. It would be nice to hear more about the missing children. 3 stars
2/21/05 Tiffany Faye Hawthorne What COULD EricD's 2nd star be for? If ever Anna Paquin needed to feast on beans.....! 1 stars
2/21/05 Natalie Stonecipher Not worst movie ever made but quite possibly stupidest. Sad waste of Anna Paquin. 1 stars
2/05/05 LilyM I liked the last scene. That's it....the last scene. 2 stars
1/17/05 Roy Smith Again An oppurtunity to wipe your ass with a handful of bills without the risk of a paper cut. 1 stars
1/14/05 Al Guy Maybe the uncut version won't stink. 1 stars
1/13/05 Theresa Bildstein HORRIBLE!! 1 stars
1/10/05 Me A great film 5 stars
1/07/05 PAKURDU NORMAL 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  25-Dec-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 19-Apr-2011

UK
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Australia
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