Anna Paquin, Lena Olin, Iain Glen
The story behind Darkness is lame and predictable.
There, I said it. Lame. The story itself feels like a stew
of story elements tossed together in hopes of making soup.
Toss in an old Victorian house in Spain, a father whose acting
erratically, a daughter (Paquin) who no one believes, an eclipse
that happens conveniently every forty years, tons of poorly
shot flashbacks and a grandfather who's either incompetent
or moderately creepy and you have Darkness.
True to it's name, the film is filled with many sequences
and sets that are overbearingly dark. These dark settings
promise a morbid lushness that's just never established by
means of mood. While movies like Se7en
pull this oppressive mood off well, in Darkness, it's
just another method to cover what's obviously a lack in funding
and possibly talent. And when things go awry, the director
conveys the unsettling terror by flickering the lights on
and off and shaking the camera about, probably in hopes that
it'll distract the viewer from the nonsensical plot.
I guess I could have put up with the "terror sequences"
if they had any kind of pay off to make them worth the time.
Within the house is a picture of three morbid people, each
with black eyes. When the opportunity arrives for the movie
to show them off in real life, it's only for a few seconds
and then they're gone. This in itself is disappointing as
it promised unreal horror found in the likes of Jacob's
Ladder and the Silent
Hill series and only delivered a horrible tease that doesn't
even serve the plot well.
And, that's what really is wrong with the movie. The plot
doesn't go anywhere and when it does, it often just dumps
ideas off and never completes the train of thought. There
are ridiculous loose ends and plot wholes and way too many
elements that serve NO purpose, leaving the movie to fell
like 80 minutes of tedium followed by 10 minutes of unrealized
Beneath the story, the film does have a few redeeming qualities,
though they may only be the bronze lining in a cloud of toxic
gas. None of the acting is particularly bad in any way, though
none of the actors seem to push their characters beyond their
shallow surface emotions. Also, I would have to admit that
the resolution of the movie's end is a nice change from the
Supposedly, this is a "supernatural" horror flick,
but in the end, the only horror in the movie is the realization
that someone actually green-lighted this project. With some
serious work, this could have been at least a good, albeit
clichéd, movie. Instead, it's a piece of work that
isn't worth the time or effort to watch.