Darkness Falls

By Mark Ramsey | 2003/01/17

What was Anya thinking?

What compelled her to choose Darkness Falls as her big screen graduation from Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Anya, don’t you know the B-movie highway will one-way onto Christopher Atkins street, left onto Scott Baio lane, and dead-end at the Ralph Macchio cul-de-sac?

Worse, this particular low road swaps the ironic sensibility of Buffy for, ironically, the senseless Darkness Falls.

Naturally, Anya is the biggest name in a movie of names no bigger than a pimple on your ass – and proximity to your rectum is the right neighborhood for this flick.


What do you expect from Revolution Studios, where the slogan is: “The same ideas, around and around.”

Believe it or not, “Darkness Falls” is the name of the town where evil rises. Now who would live in a place called Darkness Falls – besides immigrants from Guillotine Gulch, Open Sore Shores, or Mutilated Livestock Grove?

A guy grows up with horrible dreams of the howling, haughty, glowering entity he once encountered. Not Craig Kilborn – a different howling, haughty, glowering entity.

So what’s the guy’s therapy? He draws pictures of the creature’s grotesque porcelain mask – lots of pictures. These and his complete selection of collectible model light sabers are to suggest he’s prone to obsession!

In a tiny dot on the map like this, you’d think somebody would notice that townsfolk are being picked off nightly like suitors on The Bachelorette. So many peripheral, forgettable actors are carried to their death, one wonders who’s left to serve Buffalo Wings at Hollywood area T.G.I. Friday’s.

Says Anya, “Who even knew Buffalos could fly?”

Darkness Falls marks the first time foreplay is implied in the phrase “I need to get this gravel out of your scalp.”

As in all movies of this type, sudden moves of the most innocent nature are accompanied by the deafening symphonic fury of a fifty-four piece orchestra. So what the picture’s not scary – at least the noise is. Especially if it’s coming from Bjork.

darknessfalls_flashlight.jpgI can sum up the plot as follows: A hundred years ago an ugly old lady served as a mythological back-story to modern day schlock. What else do you need to know?

Now the old gal’s a ghoul – one who comes out only at night. This can mean just one thing: Lizzie Grubman’s free on bail.

You know scary grandma’s on her way when the unearthly growling begins. And because our nocturnal poltergeist is afraid of the light, the script is bullet-ridden with variations on “Get into the light!,” such as “Get into the light RIGHT NOW” and “Get into the light WITH ALL POSSIBLE HASTE.”

Before you know it, lights start clicking out all over town. And the gentle sounds of crickets melt into the wailing of a banshee. And that’s just the groaning from the audience.

A boy gets creeped-out with night terror. The naive medicos at the local hospital try to put him into a sensory deprivation tank. You’ll wish you were in a sensory deprivation tank, too. Instead, you’re stuck with this entertainment deprivation tank.

The ghostly be-yatch was called the “Tooth Fairy”. Why? Because what could be more chic than transforming a gentle child’s tale about a benevolent pixie with wings and a wand into a quick-buck molasses-pit of schlocky, forgettable goo. Horror, it isn’t. Horrible, it is.

The Sony corporation spared no expense in making this movie. In fact, they spared no expense at all. Maybe a handful of suits funneled a week’s worth of Starbucks coin into a production budget. But only the drip money, not the big latte bucks, pal!

At a running time of 75 minutes, I’ve had haircuts longer than this flick – and scarier, too. But what can you say when the commentary by folks exiting includes things like: “I would be embarrassed to be in that movie,” and “two thumbs up” – followed by a chorus of ironic laughter.

“All this over a f***king tooth!” says one character.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Photos Copyright ©2003 Columbia Pictures


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