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Overall Rating

Awesome: 4.17%
Worth A Look: 0%
Just Average: 4.17%
Pretty Crappy: 33.33%

4 reviews, 24 user ratings

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by Jack Sommersby

"Far From Illuminating"
2 stars

What a surprise: the Weinsteins have churned out yet another studio-butchered PG-13-rated embarrassment! Here's a hint: Leave it R-rated and leave it the fuck alone, you numb-nuts nincompoops.

Director/co-writer Jaume Balagueró's negligible Darkness is yet another hoary haunted-house tale where a family moves into an isolated rural dwelling and is soon plagued my mysterious, frightening goings-on. In this case, the main setting is Spain, where high-schooler Regina (played by Anna Paquin, who won the supporting-actress Academy Award for The Piano) and her family, consisting of mother and father and pre-teen brother, have recently moved to from the United States. Yes, they've escaped the troubles of "the big city" only to find more than their fair share of headaches in this supposedly-serene relocation. Apparently, they should have come prepared with their own electrician because the lights keep going out once a day, thus making everyone just a wee bit worrisome, even though such can't be that uncommon an occurrence in a just-moved-into house. Added to which, the audience is given sights of six young children, unseen by the characters, standing about the house; and with an upcoming solar eclipse, even more darkness is in store when some forty-year watershed moment will occur as drawn in some old occult books stumbled upon by Regina which nobody else pays much mind to. Suffice to say, something, well, you know, bad is on the horrible horizon for those who've taken in a whopping total of, oh, three horror movies in their lifetime.

Most of the movie is pretty much incomprehensible, either because of haphazardly-conveyed exposition or sometimes-indecipherable diction of the actors, all of whom look to be suffering from bored-out-of-their-skulls catatonia than a genuine case of the goose-bump willies. Granted, Balagueró has tried to elicit scares psychologically rather than viscerally, he doesn't lay on the gore or cheap "Boo!" effects, but his tergiversated tendency to not make things clear alienates the audience more often than not, and we're left with, yet again, a heroine in the predictable predicament of convincing others with seemingly deaf ears of an impending danger. Darkness has occasional helpings of atmosphere and tension, and it's marginally better than the similar Hide and Seek. Still, the ill-developed story never picks up steam, it lacks the thought-out unity of the somewhat-superior The Others (directed by another Spaniard), and the grand finale is so indifferently executed you expect a sequel to start playing as soon as the closing credits have finished rolling. Worst of all, it shows that the lovely Paquin, with her adorable chipmunk-looking front teeth, has acquired the Tatum O'Neal curse: an Oscar-winner so young who's growing more and more inept as she ages.

For all the mental power spent trying to stay interested, the very least in return should be a Paquin nude shot, damnit.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=11001&reviewer=327
originally posted: 05/25/06 15:21:07
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 ScreamFest L.A. Horror Festival. For more in the 2004 ScreamFest L.A. series, click here.

User Comments

9/21/17 morris campbell dull unscary crap 1 stars
1/17/10 art MS.PAQUIN is SUCH A HAM!,it should be called "HAMMINESS' INSTEAD! 1 stars
6/09/09 CTT Unwatchable mess 1 stars
10/08/06 Jim Like a bad Season 7 episode of "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" 2 stars
6/04/06 mary a total waste of time 1 stars
6/04/06 William Goss The atmosphere is there, but no other comprehensible element is. As blegh as horror gets. 1 stars
10/11/05 Tom Burns Not very scary, and not very good. 2 stars
9/10/05 Karen Illogical, meandering, confused, just incredibly bad. 1 stars
8/17/05 ES wasted film- another kid sees bad things and no one believes him piece o crap 1 stars
8/14/05 .:*paris*:. the worst ending i hav eva seen!,boring and no decent story 1 stars
6/19/05 greensweater I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me 1 stars
5/31/05 Ras From bad to worse to waste...use the two hours of your life for ANYTHING else 1 stars
5/18/05 ad not much to this one 2 stars
5/06/05 Amy Riggsby Scary movie to me, but a horrible ending. 3 stars
5/06/05 edsandiego2 It's not really that scarry. It would be nice to hear more about the missing children. 3 stars
2/21/05 Tiffany Faye Hawthorne What COULD EricD's 2nd star be for? If ever Anna Paquin needed to feast on beans.....! 1 stars
2/21/05 Natalie Stonecipher Not worst movie ever made but quite possibly stupidest. Sad waste of Anna Paquin. 1 stars
2/04/05 LilyM I liked the last scene. That's it....the last scene. 2 stars
1/17/05 Roy Smith Again An oppurtunity to wipe your ass with a handful of bills without the risk of a paper cut. 1 stars
1/13/05 Al Guy Maybe the uncut version won't stink. 1 stars
1/12/05 Theresa Bildstein HORRIBLE!! 1 stars
1/09/05 Me A great film 5 stars
1/06/05 PAKURDU NORMAL 5 stars
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  25-Dec-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 19-Apr-2011



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