The tagline for Darkness Falls insists “Every Legend Has Its Dark Side”. Similarly, every reviewer has a dark side, and this film has revealed mine. First of all, the story claims to be set in the town of Darkness Falls – but I can’t find anywhere so ludicrously named on my map of America. Naming a town ‘Darkness Falls’ seems to be asking for trouble. The tale itself is distinctly unoriginal – almost originally so. It’s about the ghost of a strange old woman (see: half of all mindless B-movie horrors) who two centuries ago in a creepy town (see: Sleepy Hollow), was hanged for “a crime she didn’t commit” (see: The A-Team). When alive she would exchange the children’s teeth for gold coins, but now she’s dead she takes her revenge by killing them on the night their last baby tooth falls out. This has earned her the moniker “The Tooth Fairy” (see: Red Dragon) and her only way to avoid obliteration is to “stay in the light!” (see: Pitch Black). So, in a way this film is like Frankenstein’s monster. Not because it’s frightening, but because it has stolen bits from the available body of Hollywood film clichés and stuck them together to create something truly wretched. This is director Jonathan Liebesman’s first feature film and who knows, perhaps he’s just being modest. He’s clearly tried desperately to hide the fact that the script has more holes in it than Blackburn, Lancashire. He’s done so by casting Emma Caulfield and getting her to flash her cleavage every so often. Admittedly, casting actresses who can’t act but look great is a tactic used by many amateur film-makers. Most of them, however, work porn. As for the child (who sees dead people, by the way), he sounded remarkably like Droopy Dog and has a two-dimensional character to match. In short, Hollywood have really lowered the bar with this one. At eighty-five minutes, it’s mercifully short, but I still left the cinema knowing I’m that much closer to death and that much further from sanity. Watch paint dry instead.
ARCHIVE: 3rd Week TT 2003