I love the premise of The Darkness. Kids are curious. Curiosity killed the cat. When a boy pick up some stones at the Grand Canyon on the family vacay, what's the worst that could happen? I know that when my kids bring back seashells from the beach we end up with a very stinky car for about a week as we attempt to figure out where they Hell they may have ended up. Well in The Darkness, the stones don't leave a smell, they bring back something sinister and evil. This works for me especially as a parent. I like the idea of innocence bringing something supernatural into the family home, and then the family having to band together to survive. There's a potent cautionary tale that underpins the film that could work well for some audiences.
Where The Darkness falls flat is in the appearance of the big bad scary thing that comes from the rocks. It's not exactly demonic or ghost or rock monster or creature, but it certainly isn't practically created either relying on whispy computerized visuals. It's simply not memorable and is cookie cutter for many of the modern Horror releases coming out of the major studios. In all fairness McLean's strong point as a Director was to find talent and to have the interactions between performers create heartfelt connections... and of course then remove those connections with a large knife. Kevin Bacon and Co certainly come together as a beautiful family for which you can care, but without a big bad foe to tackle, the energy is wasted. You can't get scared of the "thing" that comes out of the rocks. It isn't frightening, and there is not suspense leading up to its reveal that occurs too early in the film.
The Darkness does create some atmosphere, but when you throw the supernatural element directly at the audience too soon and bluntly, you destroy that ambiance leaving us only to stare at the poorly imagined thing. I'd hate to say that that lack of worthy adversary is enough to keep you away from this movie, but the strong performances and premise does not create enough suspense or dread to make The Darkness a scary Horror movie. I will say that a younger audience may appreciate this film and get around some of the shortcomings I have previously mentioned, relying on the plot as a ghost story in and of itself rather than relying on the supernatural being to sell the scare.
You can order your copy of The Darkness HERE.
Written by Greg McLean, Shayne Armstrong,S.P. Krause
Directed by Greg McLean
Executive Producers Greg McLean, Couper Samuelson, Jeanette Volturno-Brill
Produced by Jason Blum, Bianca Martino, Matt Kaplan
Cast: Kevin Bacon, Radha Mitchell, David Mazouz
From the producers of The Purge and Insidious, comes this terrifying supernatural thriller starring Kevin Bacon (TV's The Following) and Radha Mitchell (Silent Hill). When their young son (David Mazouz, TV's Gotham) brings home five mystical stones he found on their family's camping trip to the Grand Canyon, Peter (Bacon) and Bronny (Mitchell) begin to notice strange things happening in their house. Having awakened dark forces bound to the rocks, the family fights for survival as malicious demons feed off their fears and threaten to destroy them.