Darkness (2002)

It's almost as if someone doesn't want this movie to find its audience. In the UK, it wasn't released till 2005 - specifically, March 2005, in the midst of the early-Spring horror drek season, just after Hide and Seek and Boogeyman. Both of those movies were so unequivocally shit that by the time Darkness's release date rolled around, most horror fans were completely burnt out.

To make matters worse, the official description reads "A teenage girl moves into a remote countryside house with her family, only to discover that their gloomy new home has a horrifying past that threatens to destroy the family." So far, so every other teeny horror movie ever made, right?

Except that Darkness is actually sneakily brilliant. The first half, to be fair, plays out exactly as you'd expect from the description above; it's not factually inaccurate so much as just missing the point completely. Instead of fake scares and generic good-looking teenagers, there's actually some genuine creepiness and menace here - around the halfway point, the plot takes a completely different turn, and though some of the twists are fairly easy to predict, the actual ending is completely unexpected. And scary, in a goosebumpy I-don't-want-to-go-into-any-darkened-rooms-alone way, rather than in a oh-no-he's-just-got-up-again jumpy kind of a way.

Darkness is the kind of horror film that people would probably like to pretend isn't really a horror film, despite its supernatural elements. It's not trashy, and it's not brainless. It'd be nice if more horror movies worked like this, but considering how badly treated Darkness has been, it's not surprising that they aren't.


Jason Arnopp said...

Darkness was also released in the UK in a censored form, perhaps to try and emulate the middle-of-the-road horrors of Boogeyman and Hide And Seek. It was cut a little for blood, but most ludicrously for language! 'Fucking's became 'fricking's. Oh dear...

Sarah Dobbs said...

Yeah, I noticed that. The "fricking"s were very silly.

Also, almost every other reviewer seems to have said this was a completely tired, cliché movie -- did they not stay till the end, or what?