I decided to give the 2002 film Darkness another chance today. I pulled up LOVEFILM and streamed it. Unfortunately time hasn’t improved the films impact on me. It still doesn’t work and definitely does not scare me.
Directed by Jaume Balagueró I was surprised that I didn’t like the film. Jaume impressed the living hell out of me with Fragile and [Rec]. Of course Fragile does resemble Darkness to a degree, in essence Darkness could be seen as a prelude to the other two films.
The film has a quality cast:
Anna Paquin – Regina
Lena Olin – Maria
Iain Glen – Mark
Giancarlo Giannini – Albert Rua
But having a great cast isn’t enough if they’ve been cast incorrectly or just poorly. I adore all the actors in this film, just not in this film.
Giancarlo Giannini has captivated me with his performances for years and he was really the only thing in the film that came close to a saving grace. Unfortunately he had too little screen time and the plot itself was so convoluted it made his contribution less than minimal.
The film starts with a montage of sequences that play against the voices of a young child and a man. The man is trying to find out where the boy came from and where the rest of the ‘children’ are.
I will not try to advance much more than a very basic plot summary. *Wikipedia states the heavy cuts required to get the film a PG-13 rating in the USA definitely effected the film. After trying to follow the film’s plot, I think that Wiki was spot on with their information.*
The film’s ‘plot’ revolves around a solar eclipse that occurred forty years ago. A ritual of child sacrifice was supposed to release an ancient evil. Unfortunately Mark (Glen) escaped before the ritual could be finished, because his father (Giannini) can’t go through with it.
Now the eclipse is happening again and forces have gathered to ensure that, this time, the ritual is finished.
The problems with the film are legion. Firstly, the looping or ADR is bad. This entire cast of capable actors all sound flat, disconnected and uninterested. Everyone, with the exception of Giannini sound like they are reading their lines.
The lighting is dire. Yes, I know the title of the film and its core plot is Darkness. But folks if you can’t see the film you need to lighten it up a bit.
Last in the list of things that don’t work in the film (truth be told, it’s only last because I have to stop writing this review somtime) has to do, again, with the sound. The dubbing is the next best thing to atrocious. It had a sort of time warp experience. I really felt that I had stumbled back to the days of Steve Reeves and all those ‘Sword and Sandal’ films and the Leone Spaghetti Westerns where actor Mickey Knox ‘dubbed’ all the other voices in the film.
Although Darkness is in fact a Spanish production it certainly feels like a kissing cousin to those old Italian films.
The film is worth a look just for Giannini’s abbreviated appearance or perhaps to see a much younger Paquin going through her paces.
In all honesty, those are the only reasons that I would recommend seeing this film for.
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