Sunday, 25 August 2013

Darkness (2002)

Darkness is a flawed horror movie with good intentions that features some great ideas buried amongst plenty of weaker moments that will feel all too familiar to modern horror fans.

Anna Paquin stars as Regina, a young woman who starts to feel unsettled not long after she moves into a new home with her parents (Lena Olin and Iain Glen) and younger brother (Stephan Enquist). The darkness seems to contain something menacing, a strain is being put upon the family and someone may be in very real danger. Regina suspects that it may be her younger brother who is most at risk, but will she be able to uncover the truth and stop whatever dark destiny seems to be heading their way?

Directed by Jaume Balaguero, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Fernando de Felipe (additional dialogue provided by Miguel Tejada-Flores), Darkness certainly has potential. There are one or two moments that are highly effective, but it's never too long until something comes along that reminds you of just how derivative the majority of the movie is. There's not anything especially wrong with being derivative if things are then blended into something fresh or just so well accomplished that the end result is more than the sum of its parts, but this film doesn't manage that. It tries, and that saves it from being rated any lower, but ultimately fails.

The cast don't help as much as they could, with Paquin, Olin, Glen and Enquist all being just a bit too bland in their roles. Paquin fares the best, as her fans will find unsurprising, but none of the others onscreen are terrible. They're just not particularly memorable. Giancarlo Giannini, on the other hand, may only be a supporting cast member but he does his best with what little screentime he has. Fele Martinez is another cast member who fails to make much of an impression, but I thought I should mention him anyway as he plays another one of the main characters. Badly.

There's a good movie hidden away at the heart of Darkness (no Joseph Conrad-inspired pun intended), and there are times when it almost shows just how good it could be, but then it's all covered up again by cliche and predictability.


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