Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Review: In "Darkness Falls" Scary Rises

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 159 (of 2003) by Leroy Douresseaux

Darkness Falls (2003)
Running time: 86 minutes (1 hour, 26 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for terror and horror images, and brief language
DIRECTOR: Jonathan Liebesman
WRITERS: John Fasano, James Vanderbilt, and Joe Harris; from a story by Joe Harris
PRODUCERS: John Fasano, John Hegeman, William Sherak, and Jason Shuman
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Dan Laustsen (D.o.P.)
EDITORS: Tim Alverson and Steve Mirkovich
COMPOSER: Brian Tyler


Starring: Chaney Kley, Emma Caulfield, Lee Cormie, Grant Piro, Sullivan Stapleton, Steve Mouzakis, Peter Curtin, Kestie Morassi, Jenny Lovell, John Stanton, Joshua Anderson, and Emily Browning

The subject of this review is Darkness Falls, a 2003 horror film produced by Revolution Studios and distributed by Columbia Pictures. Directed by Jonathan Liebesman, the film was co-written by Joe Harris, a comic book writer who has written X-Men and Spider-Man comics for Marvel Comics and Batman comics for DC Comics. Darkness Falls focuses on spirit exacting revenge on the town for a 150-year-old lynching and a young man called to help stop the spirit’s rampage.

Darkness Falls is a creepy, atmospheric little thriller with all the requisite bumps in the night, and a boogeyman (woman) who hits her mark every time she rockets out of the dark to deliver hot death. She’s a fearsome old thing, even in her worse moments.

In this horror tale, a vengeful spirit has taken the form of the Tooth Fairy and has been exacting revenge on Darkness Falls, the town that killed her, for the 150 years since her unjust execution. The Tooth Fairy visits a child on the night he loses his last tooth. If anyone looks at her during one of her visits, she whacks him. As the story begins, she has her sights on Michael Greene (Lee Cormie) who did see her. Desperate to save her little brother, Caitlin Greene (Emma Caulfield) calls on Kyle Walsh (Chaney Kley), a childhood friend who survived one of the Tooth Fairy’s attacks and who is the sole opposition to the murderous supernatural creature.

Darkness Falls isn’t great, and the script is light on character development even though it has many good characters and backstory that easily connects the characters to one another. The credit goes to director Jonathan Liebesman (a South African who won some notable awards for his short film Genesis and Catastrophe) who deserves all the credit for making Darkness Falls creepy and fun. It’s an effective suspense thriller directed with a veteran’s flair, and those who are not burnt out and made cynical by overdone heavily laden special effects horror films should enjoy this.

6 of 10

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