Horror Movie Review: Darkness Falls (2003)

Hey kids, do you know what makes a supernatural movie really scary!? Showing you the monster at every possible turn! Subtleness? The hell with that! Building tension? Get the hell out of here! Sticking to the very rules you created for this movies story? Fuck off!

Darkness Falls is a chore of a movie that will leave you feeling disappointed & deflated at what could have been. The story, while clichéd, was interesting enough that I’m actually surprised they manage to screw it up so badly.

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The film opens giving a history lesson about the town of Darkness Falls. Matilda was an elderly widow who was loved by the kiddes of the town. She would gift them with money when they lost their teeth, so she was named the tooth fairy. Anyway, after an unfortunate fire in her home she was badly burnt leaving her face disfigured & very sensitive to light.

Now a reclusive shut-in she only left her home at night & wore a porcelain mask to cover her burnt face. After two kiddes go missing the adults of the town blame Matilda (which is a really knee-jerk reaction considering her role within the town before the fire). They hang her & expose her face to the painful light which prompts Matilda to curse the town. The two missing kiddes turn up & the adults are all a bit shame-faced so bury her body secretly hoping to forget their dark secret.

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Over time the story of Matilda becomes legend, something kids use to scare each other. It is said that when a child loses their final baby tooth, that night Matilda will visit them & I guess kill them? That part isn’t made clear. Anyway…should anyone else see the spirit they will also be marked. Very important that part, it givers the creators carte-blanche to kill huge parts of the cast seemingly at random (which they so).

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Kyle is a teen who has just lost his last baby tooth & that night is visited by the vengeful spirit of Matilda. At this stage the movie has been on for no more than 10 minutes but you’ll get to see the spooky spectre in full view several times. Kyle fights her off by abusing her weakness, light. His mother is murdered by Matilda while Kyle hides in the brightly light bathroom.

This part of the movie has the one & only memorable/creepy scene as Kyle sits shivering in the bath the camera pans out of the lit room to the darkened hallway to show Matilda pressed up against the roof just waiting & wailing in her effectively disturbing screams.

Kyle is believed to have murdered his mother & is taken away by the police where he spends the next few years in a psychiatric hospital.

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12 years later Kyle’s childhood friend calls him out of the blue asking for his help. Her baby brother is suffering form the same kind of ‘delusions’ that plagued Kyle & is terrified of the dark. Kyle, still suffering form his own problems with Matilda agrees to help but the dark spirit has been waiting for his return…

Darkness Falls could be described as thrill ride, in that it rarely stops to catch it’s breath trying to condense 120 minutes of movie into 80-odd. It’s so rushed with little build towards any major event. It’s predictable as hell with nothing left to the imagination. As I said above the movie doesn’t try to hide Matilda in the slightest & at one stage is pulling people from cars & wiping out a police station full of cops as if she’s the Terminator.

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It’s about as exciting as watching paint dry but with far less riveting moments. The acting from the adults is average to poor at best with the older Kyle wishing he was anywhere but in this movie. Every single person is over-shadowed by the young boy Michael, who Kyle had come back to help. The boy is convincing & makes Matilda way more threatening just by his fear of the dark & reactions to the smallest indication that she might be near.

Predictably the town suffers a complete blackout during a light storm leading to the movies un-whelming finale.

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I can see why a lot of people enjoy this kind of movie, its horror is light & there is next to no gore. It’s got plenty of jump scares & is short enough to hold your attention for its running time. However seasoned horror movie viewers will see straight through this bland, boring & un-inspired mess.

Darkness Falls
  • 4/10
    The Final Score - 4/10
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