Darkness Falls (2003)
Cast: Chaney Kley, Emma Caulfield, Lee Cormie, Grant Piro, Sullivan Stapleton
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Nutshell: dying hag curses sleepy town and returns later as the murderous Tooth Fairy
Hollywood horror appears to be going through a pretty anaemic time of late with studio’s seemingly having totally run out of even half decent ideas. A perfect example is this years Darkness Falls which goes to preposterous lengths in order to demonize the legend of the Tooth Fairy!
In this scenario we have a remote Oceanside town Darkness Falls where a nasty witch like woman supposedly kidnaps a couple of boys for her black magic rituals. The ignorant townsfolk condemn the batty old woman and torch her for murdering the children but as she burns she swears revenge from the town of Darkness Falls. A day or so later the two children are discovered in perfect health and the townsfolk damned to bearing their dark secret for years to come.
Years pass and we are taken to present times and a household where a young boy Kyle who has just lost his last baby tooth is trying to sleep but the darkness and some very strange sounds are scaring the hell out of him. He alerts his mother about the ominous lurking figure he senses but she is unconvinced. However moments later a ghastly apparition appears and unleashes a savage attack on the unsuspecting mother. Years later Kyle has grown up into a nervous wreck in a mental institute obsessed with avoiding the dark as well as the fate of his mother lacerated to shreds as she was by the marauding, porcelain mask wearing Tooth Fairy. Kyle then receives a call from his childhood sweetie who pleads for his help as her little brother seems to be suffering from the same trauma that he had been through.
“Has he lost a tooth recently” asks Kyle knowingly though no one is ready to buy the idea that there is a Tooth Fairy flying around the place that starts menacing and lacerating the populace in order to avenge the treatment meted out to her by the townsfolk all those years ago. Kyle keeps exhorting to everyone to carry a flashlight and to stay out of the darkness to stay alive but keeps ending up in the local police lock-up where the light bulbs are almost always on the blink. In fact the entire town suffers from bad wiring and the Tooth Fairy must be thinking all her Christmases arrived altogether when the entire town of Darkness Falls is plunged into a total blackout leaving her to strike with impunity.
She doesn’t like the light because it enables people to see her hideously charred face and the legend goes, if anyone takes a peek at her (rather like Medusa) she comes back to lacerate them for having done so! The mind boggles as to how ridiculous the plots of current Hollywood horror have sunk and let’s face it if it hadn’t been for the Far East and Japan in particular the genre would be suffering like never before. This film astounds with its infantile storyline and it seems quite amazing that a major movie studio would green-light a proposal as lightweight as this. However, with Warner’s scoring so well recently with their similarly “made-for-morons” remakes of the William Castle films it was just a matter of time before other studios would wisen up and start producing their own brain-dead brand of cheap CGI-driven horror piffle.
In the modern era characterized by slickly packaged horror films that lack nastiness, edge, substance or style the sound engineer has become the primary star of the show. It is the sound engineer who orchestrates the scares on screen these days with carefully injected bursts of noise designed to send a viewer leaping off their seats – merely cheap techniques to startle the audience out of its inertia requiring little or no talent or skill at all. Darkness Falls typically exemplifies how emaciated the horror scene in Hollywood has become lately – what next one wonders? Humpty Dumpty appearing in Darkness Falls 2 perhaps or maybe Little Miss Muffet would be a more viable option when her spider grows into a giant man-eater having ingested some BSE or SARS infected curds and whey? Darkness Falls is an incredibly silly film from an embarrassingly infantile script featuring some very dodgy and cheap CGI effects and some pretty insipid acting.
To call this a horror film would be giving it undue credit; a “horrible” film would be far more appropriate. Incidentally the commentary track on the DVD strongly suggests that the film was created by a bunch of imbeciles with too much money to play with. Darkness Falls is a preposterously dumb film with no redeeming features.