DVD Review
Darkness Falls
Darkness Falls poster
By Lee Tistaert     Published May 24, 2003
US Release: January 24, 2003

Directed by: Jonathan Liebesman
Starring: Chaney Kley , Emma Caulfield , Joshua Anderson

PG-13
Running Time: 85 minutes
Domestic Box Office: $32,400,000
C-
Borrows elements from many other projects in the genre, not introducing anything new or clever
I?ve seen better, and I?ve seen worse. Darkness Falls may be far from a good movie, but it holds a few moments of tolerable filmmaking even if for most of the duration it resorts to everything it shouldn?t for impact.

This is the type of horror film that Hollywood is expecting on a routine basis nowadays, as rather than letting the viewer decide what in fact is spine chilling, the filmmakers have instead informed us on what definitely hits our nerve in the dark. And for most filmgoers who grasp the genre well, you know that such a technique rarely ever gels in the long run.
Darkness Falls simply asks the audience to wait in the dark, hearing those eerie sounds beside us, anticipating the jump to come. However, that can be a misleading statement, as the first ten or so minutes are the only real moments that tactic is put to use, as most of the project is very predictable in that we know what?s going to come, eliminating the moment of surprise. In a horror film the viewer prompts one basic objective: to become scared, or for things to get just a little spooky. The opening pulls this off to an okay extent but still doesn?t rise up to its potential; after that, it may be hard to believe the genre they?re going for.

Taking the form of the Tooth Fairy following 150 years since her death, Matilda Dixon returns to the town of Darkness Falls that once lynched her. Now there?s Kyle, who as a young boy woke up in the middle of the night claiming he caught sight of the mythical figure; with the kid explaining the presence to others, the Tooth Fairy comes back years later to avenge Kyle?s childhood sweetheart, Caitlin; why the girlfriend? Because damn it, it?s a horror movie and there needs to be a catch. Oh, you wanted a logical reason? I?m stumped.

To call Darkness Falls a complete failure in the horror genre would not be right on my part, as there is a moderate amount of tension built up in the opening and I actually jumped once. Though the actual execution could be much better from a terror standpoint, it could also be much worse; having seen my share of awful horror flicks I?ve come to a point where giving some films credit over others, despite not being good to begin with, is only fair.

The script is traditional for a cheap scare flick but I don?t know what I can necessarily say for Darkness Falls that I haven?t already said for some genre attempts in the past. We?ve seen this story countless of times previously, as it is purely an indirect remake of the slasher products of which inspired it. There?s cheap "boo" scares, there?s the camera movement hinting at a jump, there?s under-written characters, there?s stale dialogue, and there?s the lack of passion to witness the finale. We?ve got a film that drives on a very routine path and will please those viewers not looking for much in the ways of fulfillment or engagement.

Darkness Falls may be quite short but it?s not diverting. The flick borrows elements from many other projects in the genre, not introducing anything new or clever that we have yet to experience for the first time. Labeled as a horror film, viewing this flick in darkness or in full light will probably not make a difference, as either way it?s not prone to make a killing.

DVD Features:
- Commentary by Director Jonathan Liebesman, Producers William Sherak and Jason Shuman, and Writer James Vanderbilt
- Commentary by Writers John Fasano and Joe Harris
- The Legend of Matilda Dixon
- The Making of Darkness Falls
- Deleted Scenes
- Storyboard Comparisons
- Full Screen & Widescreen Options

Audio Features:
- Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Lee's Grade: C-
Lee's Overall Grading: 2732 graded movies
A0.4%
B30.3%
C61.5%
D7.7%
F0.0%
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