After having a rather lackluster experience watching "Darkness" in theaters with my brother way back in 2004, I learned that it was directed by Jaume Balaguero, whom would go on to co-direct the stellar "[Rec]". Thusly I decided it was high time to revisit this American/Spanish Horror hybrid and take a second gander at an originally disappointing viewing. Now, I can see that "Darkness" is...well, still pretty lackluster. Not that its bad by any means, just far too cliche and somewhat boring for my tastes.
Regina (Paquin) and her family have recently moved to Spain for a new taste on life. When her father (Glen) is suddenly overcome with reoccurring mental breakdowns and her younger brother (Enquist) suddenly finds himself afraid of the dark, claiming that there are children in the darkness that call him an 'imposter', Regina finds herself wondering what the fuck is going on. So she starts to investigate this new house and uncovers that the house was built for a satanic ritual to unleash an evil 'darkness' into the world. Now its a race against time as she finds herself battling a fate she never thought she would face.
The problem with "Darkness" resides in the fact that, yes, you have seen this film before. Perhaps not all in one watch. A little "Shining" here, a little "Ju-On" there. We've seen it before. And unfortunately, substance wise, "Darkness" does little to veer off this pathway of cliche ghost elements and far too drawn out sequences. With some decent acting, although Paquin has hardly done anything for me at any given time, the film just sort of rides the line of mediocrity a bit too much. Not enough solid scares. Not enough tension or atmosphere. It does okay on these things that are needed for a good Horror film, but it never gets out of the 'same ole same ole' routine.
The one true thing that "Darkness" has going for it is the eye and saving visual grace of director Jaume Balaguer. Although not as slick and vicious as he would punch the world in the face with on the film "[Rec]", this film shows some of his potential in many ways. His use of solid close ups of unusual elements (like the rain soaked swing set seats) or kinetic vibrating ghost shots make for a pretty stylistic watch. Too bad much of the tension/atmosphere he tries to build is undermined by the rather lackluster script and forgettable plot, otherwise "Darkness" might have succeeded even more in this field too.
"Darkness" is far from being a bad film but its damn far from being good either. Its script and cliche story seem to leech away any kind of solid Horror elements it desperately tried to create and hold on to. It was nice to revisit this old memory from my past and see a talented director start to get a foot hold, but beyond that "Darkness" might be better left...in the dark.
Written By Matt Reifschneider
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