- on Friday, 13 May 2016 08:15
- by Loron Hays
I have to ask you this. Do you believe in God? You’re going to need that faith in order to survive this one, brothers and sisters. The Darkness is a dull ride through familiar roads with actors and actresses more talented than the trappings of this bland and forgettable movie. The Darkness is clearly undeserving of its Friday the 13th release date.
Continuing their streak of micro-budget films, Blumhouse Productions opens their summer season a bit early this year with The Darkness. Their very specific brand of bread and butter continues to arrive in an oozing supernatural form. Why change a good and profitable thing? Hey, at least its not Sinister 3. Well, someone got a bit nervous because this one has been neutered to the point of being insignificant.
The horror aspects in this tale of ghostly events can be traced back to Native American mythology. Bout time, right? The Anasazi are back. Too bad then that this haunted tale is as wildly uneven and (sadly) as tame as it is. With no distinctive style to call its own, this haunted tale is best left alone and avoided this weekend. Save it for a rental.
Directed by Wolf Creek's Greg McLean (who is much better than this offering), his new horror film is supposedly based on a true story. Even if the events concerning five stones and the possession that follows are all hearsay, the screenplay by Shayne Armstrong, Shane Krause, and McLean barely keeps the narrative together. Someone higher up the studio food chain must have been disappointed by the final product because whoever slapped this together is obviously more concerned with jump scares than establishing an intelligent vibe.
Starring Kevin Bacon (Stir of Echoes) and Radha Mitchell (Silent Hill), The Darkness is about a family tormented by a malevolent spirit who attaches itself to their youngest son after a two-family camping trip in the Grand Canyon. Thing is, this particular spirit feeds off of fear and the Taylor family is exactly that: frozen. How then do you explain their super slow responses to the bizarre shit that happens around the house? It becomes downright laughable as they poo-poo some really strange happenings, dismissing them or, even better, forgetting them all together.
Hey, I just saw a ghost disappear behind a sheet! Nevermind. What’s that funky ass smell? Nevermind. Why is black shit running out of my son’s mouth? And what’s with these handprints?! He must be sick. There’s simply no logic in the delayed responses this family – full of faults – provides. A normal response would be to put the house up for sale and get the fuck out of dodge. Also starring Lucy Fry and Gotham’s David Mazouz as the family’s autistic son, the low strides of The Darkness is not the result of the actors. They do their jobs. I suspect someone took over during post-production. McLean is a better director than this.
Some family trips are best left to memories. No souvenirs needed. The Darkness, buoyed by a strong cast, is little more than cheap thrills five lifted rocks provide.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic elements, some disturbing violence, brief sensuality and language
Runtime: 92 mins
Director: Greg McLean
Writer: Shayne Armstrong, Shane Krause
Cast: Kevin Bacon, Radha Mitchell, David Mazouz
Tagline: Evil Comes Home
Memorable Movie Quote:
Distributor: BH Tilt
Release Date: May 13, 2016
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: September 6, 2016.
Synopsis: When a family returns from a Grand Canyon vacation, they begin noticing strange things happening in the house. Blaming young Mikey for these deviant events, it's too late when they finally realize they've awakened ancient supernatural entities of The Darkness. Explore The Events, but BEWARE of what you might awaken.
Available on Blu-ray - September 6, 2016
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit); Spanish: DTS 5.1; French: DTS 5.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD-50); UV digital copy; iTunes digital copy; Digital copy; BD-Live
Region Encoding: A
The picture quality of this blu-ray release from Universal is great – maybe too great as it renders some of the effects rather cheesy. Practical effects, when there are some, are nicely textured, though. The nice and crisp 1080p image is also very dark – intentionally, so – and is effectively moody. Black levels are solid and shadows are strong. Colors and hues are rich, deep and authentic without embellishment. It is transferred in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio. This Blu-ray has captured the theatrical feel well, making it feel less like a Poltergeist knock-off (which it is). The HD master 5.1 audio is a solid sound addition – with front loaded dialogue and atmospheric effects in the surround channels – to a rather lackluster release.
Man, oh, man. Universal has simply dumped this on the public. I guess they know a stinker when they see one and there’s no disguising this one. It’s a dud. Loaded with frivolous deleted scenes and an alternate beginning, the special features are laughable at best. Maybe somewhere there is a better picture, but you won’t find it here. Redemption codes for Digital HD copies from UltraViolet partners or Apple iTunes are also included with the release.
- Deleted Scenes
- Alternate Ending