There are no fewer than 10 horror movies slated for release between now and the end of 2016. I used to love the genre, but somehow lost my love for it after seeing so many poorly done movies, or movies that have too many similar elements among them. Somebody is possessed or slowly becoming unraveled before losing it, nobody believes it or the people around them ignore their strange behavior until it becomes extreme; strange things are happening in the house, people ignore or rationalize it somehow until there’s blood on the ceiling and the walls are moving; there’s some ancient curse in effect, or a burial ground, or, Oh! Look! We’re on the site of a massacre from another century… etc., etc., etc. Great, even good, horror movies are few and far between. You have to watch 20 terrible ones to find the one gem in the rock pile, and that gem usually, I find, lies in a vampire, zombie, virus driven movie such as A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (Netflix), 30 Days of Night or World War Z (which I enjoyed, despite the poor reviews). The supernatural realm is pretty played out and needs to be refreshed. Maybe in some twisted attempt to recapture my youth, I am revisiting horror movies to see if I can find one I enjoy and would recommend. I did not find it this week. But I’m gonna keep hope alive! I figure at least one out of the upcoming 10 HAS GOT to be a keeper. I’m an optimist that way. What can I say?
The Darkness starring Kevin Bacon (as Peter Taylor), Rudha Mitchell (as Bronny Taylor) and David Mazouz (as Michael Taylor) focuses on a family whose autistic son (played by Mazouz) becomes the conduit to the spirit world following a family trip to the Grand Canyon where Michael falls into another dimension, discovers and pockets 5 ancient stones and begins to assist ancient, evil spirits conjure themselves from the spirit world into the “real” world. The film goes on to show how this family, that was already falling apart and hanging on by a thread, falls further apart and comes back together in an effort to save themselves, and perhaps the world (I really wasn’t sure), from these ancient, dark forces of evil.
The movie explores a school of thought that autistic children have an ability to see and sense things “normal” people do not. There have been articles written and some studies conducted which attempt to prove that autistic children have higher sensitivity to ghosts and spirits and increased extrasensory abilities – with a correlation between autism and telepathy. But other than the fact that the conduit to the spirit world is autistic (1 in 68 children in the U.S. are autistic according to the most recently recorded CDC statistics), there is nothing particularly unique about this movie.
The film takes too much time educating the audience on the history and identity of these ancient spirits and muddles what the intentions of the evil spirits are exactly. At one point the spirits are coming to unleash evil on the world and at another they are coming to get Michael to take him back with them. I really don’t know why the spirits wanted to take Michael back to their realm, but after all the hell they raised to get back to this dimension they seemed just fine with swapping the kid for his father, so he must not have been all that important to them.
We see snippets of horror movies past; Amityville Horror, The Exorcist, Poltergeist – the list of cliches goes on and on. Like so many, many horror movies, The Darkness relies too heavily on people doing really stupid things (such as suspecting your house may be haunted, going out to dinner with your wife and leaving the children home alone; or walking through the house confronting the demons and not keeping track of the son who brought them there; or taking your seemingly disturbed son to grandmas so she and her poor cat can be exposed to his issues too) to keep the story going.
Overall I give The Darkness 5 out of 10 bloops – meaning, it’s worth a look if you don’t have to pay for it. Wait for it to hit cable. And I’m being generous. Good acting wasted on a lazy movie that could have been good, but wasn’t.
Note/Upcoming: I wanted to see the Danish horror flick What We Become, but it literally was in the theater for about 4 days before it got yanked. I don’t know what happened there. Maybe it is for the best. But we will try again with The Bye Bye Man (June 3). This movie’s premise is similar to Candy Man. But I’m willing to give it a try. You never know…
Upcoming: Check back with me during the week. I will be reviewing Money Monster, Keanu (which I am going to tell you right now, go see it if you do not have an aversion to “The “N” word” and you love cute cats), and whatever else the mood strikes me to check out.
Finally: I never made it to Purple Rain and can’t say when I will, as it seems to be getting the “cult classic” treatment, like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, with midnight showings and such – so it looks like it will be playing for some time.
Have a great week!