Darkness Falls (2003)

Sex :
Violence :
Director Jonathan Liebesman
Writers John Fasano, James Vanderbilt, Joe Harris
Starring Chaney Kley, Emma Caulfield, Lee Cormie
Genre Revenant
Tagline An eye for an eye. Your life for a tooth.
15 second cap One pissed off tooth fairy wants more than your teeth, boredom ensues


“Remember, when the tooth fairy comes, don't peek.” - Cat

Matilda Dixon, who lived 150 years ago, was wrongly accused of the abduction of two missing boys, and was subsequently hanged. Before She died She laid a curse on the town of Darkness Falls claiming that whenever a kid lost the last of their baby teeth she would come for the tooth, and if seen would kill the viewer. Which kind of helps to explain the number of murders going down in the town. Anywise a young boy named Kyle wakes in the night to find something is after his last baby tooth, his mother pays the price for being a bit of a sticky beak, thus leading Kyle to teenage years fill of mental institutions and foster homes. Apparently he didn't have a father, but that's the least of the plot issues we are going to sit through

Flash forward 12 years and Kyle is happy in Los Vegas working in the gaming industry and being all traumatic over the dark. His childhood sweetheart Cat rings to say her brother Michael has become terrified of the dark and will Kyle come and help out on the home front. Naturally Kyle responds, which leads to his confrontation with his old nemesis, while a disbelieving township throws quite the barriers in his way to being a hero. Can Kyle stay in the light and save Michael from a particularly nasty revenant?

The back story to our Revenant is actually pretty cool and we get it in a voice over at the start of the movie. For those wanting more check the extras there's a documentary claiming the whole thing is based off a real life Matilda Dixon who lived down in Port Fairy. Who knew bar staff could add like drama and stuff to a local legend. Moving along kids, Matilda Dixon, who is transplanted from South Australia to Maine in North America, had a few roos bounding loose in the top paddock. Kids would visit her with their baby teeth and she would give them a gold coin for the teeth. After a horrendous fire in the lighthouse she called home, yes a wtf development, Matilda took to wearing a porcelain mask due to being heavily disfigured. She no longer allowed the local kids visitation rights but at night, the light apparently hurts her super sensitive skin, she would go around collection teeth nailed to doors and leave a gold coin for the lucky kiddie. Being pretty lucky and all Matilda got blamed when two kids went missing, and a mob descended on her home, dragged her to the nearest tree, and hanged her. The next day the two kids showed up, oops! Before she was hanged Matilda placed a curse on the town and her vengeful spirit was soon murdering the local population at a pretty frantic rate. Now that's one hell of a background story friends and neighbours.

Now how cool does that sound on the revenant front. All we really need to know is the “tooth fairy”, Matilda's nickname for obvious reasons, will take the life of anyone who sees her, and can only be thwarted if you stay in the light. How on earth could Director Jonathan Liebesman bollock up this sort of a setup. Well Liebesman does okay but is let down by having three writers labouring away on the script, quite possibly using crayons stuck up their bums, and a Studio system that clearly decided to have a fiddle post production. That never works folks, you are left corned holed if you are the Director or original story writer, the Execs have never learnt to trust the people they hire, or in fact just plain admit that they know jack about horror if we had to be brutally honest.

Once we get past the opening monologue Liebesman opens his movie in quite the tension laced fashion, unfortunately he blows his load in doing so. A young Kyle has just lost the last of his baby teeth and his would be girlfriend warns him not to peek at the tooth fairy. Naturally Kyle wakes in the middle of the night and Liebesman for the only time in the movie hits a fine crystal ring. In a prolonged scene Liebesman uses shadow and sound to inform the Audience that Kyle isn't alone in his room, with the first of a number of jump scenes informing the audience that it's only his mother. Unfortunately for Kyle later in the night while he is cowering under his sheets mom isn't his nocturnal visitor. We quickly learn that our revenant can't stand light, close shave for Kyle here, but his mother falls victim as we get our first look at a fairly good CGI effect. Unfortunately, besides the odd additional jump scene – a cat, really! - Liebseman is unable to capture the glory of his opening gambit as Darkness Falls swerves off the road and into the swamp of mediocrity.

It seems to me the more Writers that are attached to a movie the greater the chances of blandness creeping in. Liebesman's leads, Chaney Kley (Kyle), Emma Caulfield (Cat), and Lee Cormie (Michael) try their best to lift the movie but the dialogue they are forced to regurgitate is simply awful and at stages cringe worthy. The final one liner for example had me knocking my head on my desk in frustration. Lee Cormie at least has an excuse, he's trying to mask an Aussie accent, not totally successfully. But hey in some of the wide angle shots we are clearly in Australia, so I'm not going to be overly critical about Cormie.

Naturally since the Studio wanted a cookie cutter movie for the date crowd there's plot holes a plenty. Why exactly, since he's so terrified of the dark that he has to take medication, does Kyle agree to having a beer, he doesn't drink! - in the middle of the forest during the night? Why exactly did we have a manhunt going down when Kyle and Redneck Red had left the bar like five minutes ago. And how exactly would a small town like Darkness Falls afford a Sensory Deprivation Tank, even one that looks remarkably like an MRI? Watch the movie to pick your own holes, be warned it's a full time occupation with this movie.

Having blown his ace card in the first five minutes Liebesman is left with very little to play with and proceeds to bore the Audience into submission. Just how many times were characters warned to stay in the light? We get the hospital scene, why are they always under massive renovation and poorly staffed in horror flicks?, the lighthouse scene, and the obligatory false ending that was seen marching over the distant hills. And if that's not enough to have you reaching for the eject button there's even a car chase scene that had me giggling.

They were going for a “based on a true story” approach, and unfortunately this turns out to be correct, the story being the Studio Execs encounter grouped the movie into mush!

ScaryMinds Rates this movie as ...

  Stay in the light and away from this movie.