Thursday 25 June 2020

The Darkness (2016)

There's a decent pedigree here. Director Greg McLean, stars Kevin Bacon and Radha Mitchell, the not-inconsiderable backing of the Blumhouse brand (I know, I know, that name isn't a sign of quality, but it at least allows the end product to be glossy potential fun). But let's not beat about the bush, The Darkness is rubbish.

A family are enjoying a vacation, part of which involves them visiting the Grand Canyon. The youngest member of the family, an autistic young boy named Mikey, finds a small cavern, in which he finds some rocks with symbols drawn on them. Taking them home, young Mikey inadvertently endangers his whole family, because the rocks seem to be a link to some demonic entities that then start to cause trouble by doing things as varied as repeatedly turning on the taps, making black handprints appear on different surfaces, and setting a wall on fire. The two worried parents race to find a solution to their serious problem, although it's hard to think that they should have just raised their kids not to go exploring strange caves and taking unauthorised ownership of strange rocks.

Written by Shayne Armstrong and S. P. Krause, as well as McLean, The Darkness is yet another mainstream horror movie highlighting the worst things that you can find in mainstream horror movies. The characters aren't very interesting, the tension is pretty non-existent, it's not scary, and it's just all too silly to go along with for any length of time. I am all for suspending disbelief and enjoying a wide variety of cinematic entertainment, but the writers still have to put the work in to get you ready to put you in that mental state.

McLean directs with competence, I'll give him that. That's the minimum praise I can give him, and it's the minimum praise that he deserves. Considering his past releases, The Darkness is undeserving of his involvement. Although everything is generally in the right place, it could have been anyone at the helm. It's THAT generic, and the third act just reminded me of the fact that it's been far too long since I attempted to rewatch every season of The X-Files (you'll see what I mean when you watch the film).

The cast are okay, trying their best with the weak material. David Mazouz is young Michael, and has to just be quiet and look blank (which he does), Lucy Fry is perfectly fine as the older sister, Stephanie, and Bacon and Mitchell are the best thing in the movie, as ill-served by the script as anyone else, but managing to fare a bit better thanks to simply being who they are.

Really not worth your time, unless you're looking for a fairly dull thriller that won't scare you in any way, The Darkness was a film that I was unaware of until last week. Now I have seen it, I know why that was the case.


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