A vengeful spirit has taken the form of the Tooth Fairy to exact vengeance on the town that lynched her 150 years earlier. Her only opposition is the only child, now grown up, who has surviv... Read allA vengeful spirit has taken the form of the Tooth Fairy to exact vengeance on the town that lynched her 150 years earlier. Her only opposition is the only child, now grown up, who has survived her before.A vengeful spirit has taken the form of the Tooth Fairy to exact vengeance on the town that lynched her 150 years earlier. Her only opposition is the only child, now grown up, who has survived her before.
I find it rather hard to believe that in the past year, we've had five movies dealing with vengeful supernatural spirits and/or curses. It began with Feardotcom, then Below, The Ring (easily the best of the bunch), Ghost Ship, and now Darkness Falls, which could very well be the worst. In the latest example of PG-13 horror, there's nothing here that's the slightest bit scary or thrilling. The atmosphere is non-existent, the premise really isn't very promising, and the execution is even more lackluster.
The film has a very simple premise: old lady killed over a hundred years ago is now a restless spirit who goes around murdering children who've lost their first tooth (they also have to see her face first, or something like that, not like the movie was holding my attention). Anyway, after the film dispenses with TWO prologues which takes up nearly fourteen minutes of running time, we settle with our protagonist, Kyle Walsh (Chaney Kley), who encountered this evil tooth fairy as a child and wants to help his former girlfriend's (Emma Caulfield) younger brother through the same ordeal. Naturally, no one believes Walsh and they'll live (well, not for long) to regret it.
Horror is probably my favorite genre, and while last year did give us The Ring (simply one of the scariest films I've ever seen) and Below (an excellent "ghost ship" thriller that's much better than Ghost Ship), most of these big studio genre offerings don't seem to realize what it is that makes horror films so fun to watch. They don't have to be bone-chillers, they just have to be easy entertainment, which is what Darkness Falls strives for, but fails at almost miserably.
First, I'd like to mention the preposterously short running time. Without the end credits, this puppy runs for seventy-four minutes, shorter than your average TV movie sans commercials. Then knock off the prologues, and we've got approximately an hour of material that focuses on the lead actors and their plight. This is obviously a movie that doesn't have much in the way of plot, but you probably figured that when you saw the town's name was Darkness Falls (groan).
The Ring worked because of its chilling atmosphere, engaging mystery, and fine performances. To a lesser but still formidable extent, the same goes for Below. Darkness Falls doesn't have the look and feel of a horror/thriller, it certainly doesn't have enough plot (and what story it has is peppered with plot holes)(you'd think a town this cursed would have almost a minute population, but it's a rather bustling little place), and the acting is subpar. Director Jonathan Liebesman seems perfectly content with trying to give us boo scares (which aren't the slightest bit effective), loud noises, lots of fast camera movements, and lots of running and chasing.
Running and chasing is exactly what fills up the movie's last twenty minutes, when it suddenly opts for thrill ride mode, but even that is as completely unengaging as all the material that came before it. Part of this has to do with how predictable the film is. You just know who's going to live and who's going to die. And even worse, because it's PG-13, you can't even be tantalized by the promise of gore and gratuitous nudity, two staples of 80's horror, which I'm starting to miss more and more.
The major studios are still capable of making effective horror thrillers, as evidenced by The Ring and Below, and let's not forget the superb Jeepers Creepers or Joy Ride. Watch any of those films instead of this steaming pile.
- Apr 10, 2003