DARKNESS FALLS Add To My Top 10

Content -2
Quality
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Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Release Date: January 24, 2003

Starring: Chaney Kley, Emma Caulfield, Lee Cormie, Grant Piro, and Sullivan Stapleton

Genre: Horror

Audience: Teenagers and young
adults REVIEWERS: Don Patton
and Dr. Tom Snyder DARKNESS
FALLS is a ghostly horror
flick that's trying to pull in
some young teens with its
PG-13 rating. MOVIEGUIDE®
advises extreme caution,
however, despite some positive
elements. The movie opens with
the 100-year-old story of an
old woman in a small town in
Maine called Darkness Falls.
The woman gives gold coins to
the children in the town in
exchange for their baby teeth.
She becomes affectionately
known as "the tooth fairy."
Then, the woman's house burns
down, and she is horribly
disfigured. She becomes a
recluse and only goes out with
a porcelain mask. The people
of the town shun her, and when
two children disappear, she is
accused of killing them. The
town hangs the woman, but two
days later the children show
up unharmed. Moments before
her hanging, she places a
curse on the whole town. She
tells the townspeople, "What I
took in kindness, I will now
take in revenge forever." For
years thereafter, the woman's
evil ghost has terrorized the
town's children, taking their
baby teeth, and, if you happen
to see her face, taking your
life. Flash forward to the
present day when Kyle, whose
mother was killed by the ghost
12 years earlier, is asked to
help the little brother of his
first young love. Kyle is
reluctant, because no one
believes his story about the
ghost, despite all the rumors
in the town among the
children. Kyle has been in and
out of mental institutions and
carries around tons of
flashlights, because the evil
ghost cannot abide the light.
When the ghost starts
attacking the townspeople, the
police suspect Kyle and put
him in jail. Can Kyle convince
the police to believe him so
that they can help his
girlfriend save her little
brother, and themselves, from
this rampaging
spirit? DARKNESS FALLS had a
great opportunity on its hands
that regrettably falls flat.
When many of us were children,
a shadow in the corner of the
room or a noise in the house
held monsters who never took
shape other than in our
imagination. This is the place
in everyone's life where we
were able to be deeply scared.
The movie started in the right
direction, and then the
director apparently lost
confidence in the way the
movie was turning out, so he
threw in a lot of cheap scare
tactics. A black cat jumps on
the hood of a car and shrieks
right when the audience feels
at ease. A little girl appears
in a window with full
orchestrated "BOO music," only
to find she's just a harmless
friend of the hero, who's
being hunted by the evil
ghost. There are several
scenes like this. Despite the
flimsy story, lame plot
devices and ghostly, scary,
occult elements, DARKNESS
FALLS does a good job with the
monster and the heroism of the
lead character, Kyle. The
monster itself was pretty
unsettling at times and quite
believable. It made a low
growling sound and shrieking
noise that sent ice water into
my veins. Linda Blair in The
Exorcist was more pleasant to
watch. The movie portrays Kyle
as a sympathetic guy with lots
of empathy for what his
girlfriend and her brother are
going through. His courage
helps save the day in true
heroic fashion. Although
DARKNESS FALLS skillfully
minimizes the violence toward
the children, the real victims
of the evil spirit's wrath are
the adults who come in contact
with the demonic thing while
trying to protect the
children. The evil ghost pulls
people off camera and kills
them after they see her face.
Also, the movie contains some
foul language, including
strong profanities. Finally,
although the goal in the
movie, and the worldview, is a
moral and Christian one - to
destroy the evil ghost - its
theology about ghosts is
occult. The movie also fails
to capitalize fully on the
proto-Christian symbolism of
evil not liking the light and
of evil being destroyed by the
light. Despite this symbolism,
God or Jesus Christ aren't
overtly invited to be the
solution. Thus, the evil
spirit is fought off primarily
by natural means. There's one
more thing that bothered me
about this movie that tends to
be a personal pet peeve. Have
you ever watched a TV show
that's supposed to take place
in the American deep south and
the scenery looks remarkably
like the southern California
foothills? Where every
southerner wears overalls and
chews on straw and isn't aware
that man landed on the moon?
Or, how about watching a
British movie where the
"American" in the story says
things like, "Have a nice day
honey" or a forced naselly,
"Hey, Pal," and there's
something not quite right
about it or exaggerated. Such
is the case with DARKNESS
FALLS. It could be renamed,
"Terror of the Aussieyanks,"
because it was filmed in or
near Melbourne, Australia, as
noted in the longest end
credits you've ever seen. The
plethora of American flags
hanging in shop windows may
have been an attempt to say,
"Get it? It's America." The
normally rainy pine forested
state of Maine suddenly had a
bright green, somewhat
tropical feel with a few palm
trees if you look far enough
in the background. Please
address your comments to: Amy
Pascal, Chairman Columbia
Pictures John Calley,
Chairman/CEO Sony Pictures
Entertainment 10202 West
Washington Blvd. Culver City,
CA 90232-3195 Phone: (310)
244-4000 Fax: (310)
244-2626 Web Page:
www.spe.sony.com/

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 85 minutes

Address Comments To:

Content:

(C, B, OO, LL, VV, AA, D, M) Light Christian worldview with moral elements; occult plot device and occult theology about a revenge-minded ghost that must be destroyed by the good guys; 16 obscenities (including one "f" word) and eight mostly strong profanities; scary, but not gory, action violence, such as evil ghost pulls people off camera to kill them, people and animals pop suddenly into view, police fire guns at flying spirit, spirit causes car crash, man thrust through car windshield, drunken man beats up hero, and fires break out; no sex but adolescent girl sneaks into boy's bedroom and they kiss twice, but that's all; no nudity; alcohol use and man is drunk; no smoking, but man takes anti-psychotic drugs; and, light jealousy and other small amounts of miscellaneous immorality.

GENRE: Horror

C

B

OO

LL

VV

AA

D

M

Summary:

In DARKNESS FALLS, a 100-year-old evil ghost terrorizes the people and children in a small Maine town because their ancestors falsely hanged her for murder. Despite a lightly Christian worldview with moral elements, DARKNESS FALLS contains scary violence, some strong foul language and an occult theology about ghosts.

Review:

DARKNESS FALLS is a ghostly horror flick that's trying to pull in some young teens with its PG-13 rating. MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution, however, despite some positive elements.

The movie opens with the 100-year-old story of an old woman in a small town in Maine called Darkness Falls. The woman gives gold coins to the children in the town in exchange for their baby teeth. She becomes affectionately known as "the tooth fairy." Then, the woman's house burns down, and she is horribly disfigured. She becomes a recluse and only goes out with a porcelain mask. The people of the town shun her, and when two children disappear, she is accused of killing them. The town hangs the woman, but two days later the children show up unharmed. Moments before her hanging, she places a curse on the whole town. She tells the townspeople, "What I took in kindness, I will now take in revenge forever." For years thereafter, the woman's evil ghost has terrorized the town's children, taking their baby teeth, and, if you happen to see her face, taking your life.

Flash forward to the present day when Kyle, whose mother was killed by the ghost 12 years earlier, is asked to help the little brother of his first young love. Kyle is reluctant, because no one believes his story about the ghost, despite all the rumors in the town among the children. Kyle has been in and out of mental institutions and carries around tons of flashlights, because the evil ghost cannot abide the light. When the ghost starts attacking the townspeople, the police suspect Kyle and put him in jail. Can Kyle convince the police to believe him so that they can help his girlfriend save her little brother, and themselves, from this rampaging spirit?

DARKNESS FALLS had a great opportunity on its hands that regrettably falls flat. When many of us were children, a shadow in the corner of the room or a noise in the house held monsters who never took shape other than in our imagination. This is the place in everyone's life where we were able to be deeply scared. The movie started in the right direction, and then the director apparently lost confidence in the way the movie was turning out, so he threw in a lot of cheap scare tactics. A black cat jumps on the hood of a car and shrieks right when the audience feels at ease. A little girl appears in a window with full orchestrated "BOO music," only to find she's just a harmless friend of the hero, who's being hunted by the evil ghost. There are several scenes like this.

Despite the flimsy story, lame plot devices and ghostly, scary, occult elements, DARKNESS FALLS does a good job with the monster and the heroism of the lead character, Kyle. The monster itself was pretty unsettling at times and quite believable. It made a low growling sound and shrieking noise that sent ice water into my veins. Linda Blair in The Exorcist was more pleasant to watch. The movie portrays Kyle as a sympathetic guy with lots of empathy for what his girlfriend and her brother are going through. His courage helps save the day in true heroic fashion.

Although DARKNESS FALLS skillfully minimizes the violence toward the children, the real victims of the evil spirit's wrath are the adults who come in contact with the demonic thing while trying to protect the children. The evil ghost pulls people off camera and kills them after they see her face. Also, the movie contains some foul language, including strong profanities. Finally, although the goal in the movie, and the worldview, is a moral and Christian one - to destroy the evil ghost - its theology about ghosts is occult. The movie also fails to capitalize fully on the proto-Christian symbolism of evil not liking the light and of evil being destroyed by the light. Despite this symbolism, God or Jesus Christ aren't overtly invited to be the solution. Thus, the evil spirit is fought off primarily by natural means.

There's one more thing that bothered me about this movie that tends to be a personal pet peeve. Have you ever watched a TV show that's supposed to take place in the American deep south and the scenery looks remarkably like the southern California foothills? Where every southerner wears overalls and chews on straw and isn't aware that man landed on the moon? Or, how about watching a British movie where the "American" in the story says things like, "Have a nice day honey" or a forced naselly, "Hey, Pal," and there's something not quite right about it or exaggerated.

Such is the case with DARKNESS FALLS. It could be renamed, "Terror of the Aussieyanks," because it was filmed in or near Melbourne, Australia, as noted in the longest end credits you've ever seen. The plethora of American flags hanging in shop windows may have been an attempt to say, "Get it? It's America." The normally rainy pine forested state of Maine suddenly had a bright green, somewhat tropical feel with a few palm trees if you look far enough in the background.

Please address your comments to:

Amy Pascal, Chairman

Columbia Pictures

John Calley, Chairman/CEO

Sony Pictures Entertainment

10202 West Washington Blvd.

Culver City, CA 90232-3195

Phone: (310) 244-4000

Fax: (310) 244-2626

Web Page: www.spe.sony.com/

SUMMARY: In DARKNESS FALLS, a 100-year-old evil ghost terrorizes the people and children in a small Maine town because their ancestors falsely hanged her for murder. Despite a lightly Christian worldview with moral elements, DARKNESS FALLS contains scary violence, some strong foul language and an occult theology about ghosts.

In Brief: