4.3/10
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13 user 19 critic

Darkness Falls (2020)

Anderson Falls (original title)
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1:44 | Trailer
After his wife's suicide, Detective Jeff Anderson becomes convinced that she has been murdered. Obsessed with his investigation, he finds out that his wife was the victim of a team of father-and-son serial killers and sets out to stop them.

Director:

Julien Seri

Writer:

Giles Daoust
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Shawn Ashmore ... Jeff Anderson
Gary Cole ... Mark Witver
Richard Harmon ... Adam Witver
Daniella Alonso ... Kelly Alderman
Judah Mackey ... Frankie Anderson
Sonya Walger ... Jane Wilson
Vahina Giocante ... Elizabeth Anderson
Lin Shaye ... Angela Anderson
Stefania Spampinato ... Amanda Tyler
James Logan ... Suspect
David Gianopoulos ... Officer Walker
Tanner Thomason ... Paramedic
Aliza Pearl ... Officer Pearl
Melissa Papel ... Officer #1
Vince Pavia ... Officer #2
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Storyline

After his wife's suicide, Detective Jeff Anderson becomes convinced that she has been murdered. Obsessed with his investigation, he finds out that his wife was the victim of a team of father-and-son serial killers and sets out to stop them.

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team | See All (1) »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

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Quotes

[last lines]
Mark Witver: You just killed your son
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User Reviews

 
Falls fails to stun
29 August 2020 | by TheRadioboxSee all my reviews

Darkness Falls was directed by Julien Seri, written by Giles Daoust, and stars Shawn Ashmore, Gary Cole, Richard Harmon, Daniella Alonso, Sonya Walger, Judah Mackey, and Lin Shaye. It follows a detective as he tries to stop a father/son duo of serial killers who he believes made his wife's alleged suicide look like an accident.

Plotting is standard police procedural stuff that never feels new, but not poorly done either. Mark (Cole) and Adam (Harmon) Witver sneak into the house of Jeff Anderson (Ashmore), and made his wife swallow pills to make her death look like a suicide. He finds her body and three months later begins tracking down suicide cases, due to his disbelief in the ruled cause of death. Jeff's planned promotion is thrown out and goes to his ex-partner Kelly (Alonso), and he leaves his former apartment with his son, Frankie (Mackey) to live with his mother, Angela (Shaye). Reinvigorated by the survival of Jane (Walger), Jeff follows the trail to catch the killers.

Characterization is mixed, with some good and some pretty bad. Jeff is a good protagonist with real emotion and humanity to him. A career cop with a knack for solving murders, he is devastated when his wife dies, and becomes distant from everyone and everything except for suicide cases; looking for an answer. While not the most complex, Jeff does feel real due to this, and the effect it has on his mother. Kelly is weaker, while being Jeff's old partner; now captain, her only real trait aside from that link is her doubts about his assumptions. Mark is interesting due to his justification for the murders he and his son have committed, and while his history motivates him to kill; it never does make sense for his son to follow suit. Frankie is fine, having wishes to be with his father again; instead forced to watch as his mental state deteriorates each time he sees him. Performances are also mixed, Ashmore is solid in his role, as are Cole and Shaye; but Harmon and Alonso never quite feel right; and Harmon looks nothing like Cole.

Crime consistency is kept throughout the movie, making the two killers more interesting in their refusal to change the method or the setup; but this stubbornness feels contrived and illogical. And while the motive makes some kind of sense coming from a twisted mind, it is delivered through a huge dump of exposition that abruptly transitions to a dual hostage situation. More time could have and should have been spent trying to comprehend the mindsets of Jeff and the two killers, but only in the third act is that the case. Instead the audience bares witness to the crimes that the two commit for too long, with the first 7 minutes being devoted to watching pills get swallowed. The investigation and following of the trail is introduced with promise, finding Jeff as the odd man out who no one wants to work with. Only 2002's Narc and '95's Seven come to mind, but Darkness Falls fully commits to the singular cause.

Technically the movie is a curious case (pun intended). While clearly low budget, the movie is lit very well; better than most movies that come from megacorporations like Disney and their Marvel movies (not that it's a high bar to pass). Dialogue is mostly fine, aside from some lines towards the end and a few in the middle. What sticks out like a sore fist is the music and the lack of proper balancing between it and the audio track. Sometimes while a character is speaking the music will swell and dampen the words; weakening the immersion. Other times it is placed in bizarre spots such as a stakeout that Jeff conducts by himself outside of a potential victim's house. It is loud and sorely misplaced.

Darkness Falls is a mostly competent and fairly forgettable piece of police procedural; but it entertains while it is on thanks to some fine performances from Ashmore, Cole, and Shaye. A leading character with a compelling setup helps as well, although the feeling of familiarity cannot be avoided.

56/100


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Details

Country:

Belgium | USA | France

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 June 2020 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Darkness Falls See more »

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Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital (Dolby Digital 5.1)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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