Darkness (2002)

Review of: Darkness (2002)
Review by:
Bill Clark

Reviewed by:
On January 10, 2005
Last modified:July 8, 2014


It's unfortunate that the film is called Darkness. This means it will soon be relegated to the WalMart bargain bin next to 2003's stinker Darkness Falls.

Darkness (2002)

Darkness is one hell of a god awful mess. Here is a film that wants so badly to be a clever horror film, but fails on virtually every level. It voluntarily chooses to follow the time-dishonored Hollywood wannabe horror film formula: Dark room, loud bangs in the soundtrack, silhouette crosses the frame. Repeat until finished.

Regina (Paquin) is a teenage girl who is basically a mother figure to her younger brother, Paul (Enquist). She does have two parents, mother Maria (Olin) and father Mark (Glen), but the household is hardly stable. The family has just moved to an isolated countryside home in Spain, where Mark grew up.

Things seem to be going well as the family moves in, but they soon discover that the power frequently goes out due to the ancient wires within the house, or so they think. A local electrician finds nothing wrong, but Mark doesn’t buy it.

Stranger things begin happening. Paul’s colored pencils begin moving by themselves, he wakes up with strange bruises around his neck, and Mark begins have near-fits of rage beyond his control. What’s going on with this house?

As it turns out, the family is the first people in forty years to occupy the house, which was once the site of a mysterious incident involving a group of children disappearing, but one survived. That event happened on the same night as a rare eclipse that happens every forty years. I’m sure you can see where I’m going here.

The biggest problem (and there are a lot to choose from here) is that there is not one original idea anywhere in this film. Not one! I, for one, am completely sick of false scares that only register any kind of impact because of a loud bang on the soundtrack. This film even has a tough time pulling that off. We even get what is quickly becoming a laughable stereotype in modern horror, and that is foreboding looking children who stare blankly into the lens. Cripes.

There are also major pacing problems. There is so much buildup involving what is actually wrong with the house that by the time it is explained (and it’s not even fully explained), the viewer doesn’t even care anymore. With the total lack of any scares leading up to it, the movie quickly becomes a painful bore.

Anna Paquin, who is usually very smart when choosing her roles, is totally left out to dry in an underdeveloped, underwritten role. She seems completely bored. Lena Olin is similarly wasted and is mostly left to just look scared all the time. Iain Glen does his best Jack Nicholson impression from The Shining, but it is to no avail as what is happening simply isn’t remotely scary. Stephan Enquist actually turns in the best performance as the volatile Paul.

All of this is really a shame considering that technically the film is really quite good. Director Jaume Balaguero gets some nice shots, even if the are under lit. This film could have had a real menace to it had the story complimented itself. Screenwriters Balaguero and Fernando de Felipe simply didn’t get the job done on any level with this script, which is turn ran the whole production into the ground.

It’s unfortunate that the film is called Darkness because this means it will soon be relegated to the Wal Mart bargain bin right next to 2003’s stinker Darkness Falls. That’s a group I sure wouldn’t want to be in.


Studio: Dimension Films
Length: 102 Minutes
Rating: PG-13 for disturbing images, intense terror sequences, thematic elements and language. (edited version)
Theatrical Release: December 25, 2004
Directed by: Jaume Balaguero
Written by: Jaume Balaguero & Fernando de Felipe. Additional Dialogue by Miguel Tejada-Flores.
Cast: Anna Paquin, Lena Olin, Iain Glen, Giancarlo Giannini, Fele Martinez, Stephan Enquist




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