In this post-Paranormal Activities
world, ghost (and demon) stories seem to have gotten stuck in a bit of a
formula. Suburban family suddenly start noticing weird bumps in the
night. As each night passes, the disturbances escalate steadily, building
to a crescendo in which the family is running around, dodging spiritual
attacks and fighting for their lives.
And they never, ever move out of the house
until it is way too late.
The Darkness adds in a little
Native-American spirit mumbo-jumbo, but otherwise it is pretty much more of
Honestly, the earliest scenes in the film – in
which Kevin Bacon and his family are camping in a gorgeous mountain canyon
and his autistic son gets lost in a mysterious old cave – promise a very
different movie than the one that plays out. Perhaps, it seems, it may have
been a better film, or at the very least a more distinctive film. The early
scene where the boy falls through a fragile rock face and ends up lost in a
darkened cavern in the middle of nowhere with no way to contact his family –
honestly that is the most blatantly terrifying thing which happens here.
Eventually he makes it out (disappointingly,
the film doesn’t really show how he found his way back to the campground, he
just eventually shows back up), with a stash of evil stones that are part of
an old Indian shrine.
Then the family goes home. They suddenly
start noticing weird bumps in the night. As each night passes, the
disturbances escalate steadily, building to a crescendo in which the family
is running around, dodging spiritual attacks and fighting for their lives.
So, The Darkness is not necessarily the
most original film out there. Which does not mean, by the way, that it is
not a good film. Even if much of the plotline is familiar, strong acting
and some decent special effects make the movie a very effective little
Bacon and Mitchell play a long-married couple,
the Taylors, who are vaguely estranged (apparently he had an affair some
time back and though they stayed together the betrayal still stings) and use
their camping trip as a way of healing the family. Their gorgeous teen
daughter (Lucy Fry) and severely autistic son (David Mazouz) seem rather
bored by the thing, though the mountain campground they chose is truly
What they do not know is that it is also the
home of the native American Anasazi tribe – a smart, progressive tribe who
built an underground city, but eventually disappeared due to the torture of
evil spirits. However, apparently the tribe was able to trap these beings
in five rocks – the very rocks that the Taylor son eventually stumbles
across. By removing them from the tavern, he releases the demons to haunt
his suburban Los Angeles home.
This is where The Darkness gets a bit
familiar. Lots of typical haunting scenes – handprints showing up on
bedspreads, weird and threatening symbols painted on the walls, strange
shadowy figures lurking in the background. And did I mention that they
don’t even consider the idea of leaving the house until they have been
tormented for weeks?
Eventually they get some surprisingly good
advice from dad’s sleazy boss, who is played by Paul Reiser, making this
apparently the first time Reiser and Bacon have worked together since their
breakout roles in the brilliant 1982 comedy/drama Diner. Through his
wife, they are hooked up with a spiritual healer who tries desperately to
clean the evil spirits from the house.
Are they successful? It seems even the
filmmakers seemed to think it was a coin toss. The filmmakers did not even
seem to have a clear idea of their story. The Blu-ray release includes an
alternate ending which is much darker than the one which played in theaters,
and honestly works a little bit better than the one they ended up going
with. (At least it does not feel so much like it was decided by a focus
group….) The alternate ending doesn’t exactly work either, but it is
greatly preferable to the unneeded and anti-climactic happily-ever-after tag
scene at the end of the theatrical cut.
However, even if it is somewhat boilerplate, there were some good scares
mixed in The Darkness. It’s not the greatest haunting story you’ll
find, but it could be a lot worse, too.
Copyright ©2016 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: September
Delicious Fresh Baked Cookies from David's Cookies. All different sizes and flavors!