Ever wonder what a horror movie chock full of every cliché in the book would look like? Ever wonder how Stir of Echoes would have been like had it sucked? Ever wonder how it would be to watch a movie while sleeping? If so, then you are a prime candidate to view the latest offering from Blumhouse Tilt, The Darkness.
The Taylor’s – Peter (Kevin Bacon), Bronny (Radha Mitchell), Stephanie (Lucy Fry) and Michael (David Mazouz) – all go for a little camping trip to the Grand Canyon. While out exploring, Michael falls into a hole, finds some stones with strange symbols etched onto them and decides to take them home. Three months later (though we’re not told this until near the end of the movie), Peter and Bronny are having marital issues, Stephanie is bulimic, and Michael’s autism is worsening. There also happens to be strange things occurring in the Taylor household: faucets coming on by themselves, odd noises, footsteps coming from empty rooms, and an unseen guest whom Michael refers to as “Jenny.” Is it simply Michael’s autism growing out of control? Or has something evil taken up residence in the Taylor household?
Good God, this is boring! You basically get an hour of the following pattern: something happens, people talk about it, then something happens, then people talk about it, then something happens, then people talk about it. And so on until Maximum Redundancy has been achieved. Only then does The Darkness decide that it’s bored you enough with a half-assed attempt at a build-up, only to then deliver an idiotic climax devoid of scares or cares. And then it ends with an ending that appears to have been partially chopped up by the editor, probably in a drunken stupor.
The biggest criminal here is the writing. Not only does the script contain the above-mentioned pacing/build-up issues, but it throws in every cliché in the book on top of pointless characters and questionable reactions. Footsteps from empty rooms? Check. Handprints on mirrors/objects? Check. Marital troubles? Check. Problem children? Check. Mysterious happenings? Check. Fake-out dream sequence? Check. Shadows/figures in reflective surfaces? Check. Spiritual healers who happen to be experts in a particular culture? Check. History/internet searches used as exposition? Check. Plucky violin music? Check. An imaginary friend who happens to be one of the evil spirits? Check. A child/person who is sensitive to paranormal phenomenon? Check. And the list goes on.
Pointless characters come in the form of the spiritual healers. They literally have no bearing on the story and seem to be here only because there weren’t enough clichés in the script. Take them out and you would have the same movie with a shorter runtime.
Some of the character reactions are a bit dubious as well. Michael sets fire to a wall in his room, after which Peter is intent on getting him some help. Bronny, on the other hand, seems to regard it as no big deal. Um, it is clearly evident at this point that Michael has become a danger to himself and others. Were she actually a caring mother, she’d agree with Peter. But no, the movie needs more padding. Then afterward, Michael attempts to kill his grandmother’s cat! Will they get him help now!? Nope. Remember, padding. You also get an instance when the neighbor’s dog gets into the house and attacks Stephanie. This is after Michael sets fire to his wall and tries to turn granny’s kitty into Fancy Feast. Bronny says she locked all the doors and windows before the dog got in. Peter thinks that someone has the keys to the house and let the dog in! Right… Does nobody think that Michael, who has already been established as being off his rocker, had something to do with it? Nope!
Oh, and if you’re hoping The Darkness has a few scares, your hopes have been thrashed. There is not one single scare in the entire movie. They do attempt some jump scares, but they can be seen coming ten miles off, and they’re only here because other movies have jump scares. Even the music seems to not give a crap as it doesn’t spike or anything during these scenes. “Just move along,” the music says, “we, hopefully, have a better movie awaiting us.”
“But who cares if The Darkness sucks!?” the filmmakers are saying. “We have Kevin Bacon!” Yes, they do, and I feel sorry for him that he has to appear in this dreck, along with everyone else. And we know by just how apathetic they are during the proceedings that they aren’t here because the script spoke to them or seemed like a good idea: they’re here because someone bribed them with a paycheck. After all, even actors and actresses have rent to pay. Bacon seems like he’d rather be getting a colonoscopy while Mitchell couldn’t care less about portraying a concerned mother: she just wants the dough! All the other actors and actresses here are phoning it in as well, just saying their lines and moving about the scenes. Really, the only actor here who turns in a good performance is the dog that played the dog – because he knows how to act like a dog.
The Darkness is a boring piece of crap; each ticket should come with toothpicks to help keep your eyes open and a free watch so you can see the seconds vanish to remind you that life is precious and shouldn’t be wasted watching rubbish like The Darkness. Leave this flick in the dark and go watch something else instead.