Every Legend Has its Dark Side
Directed by: Jonathan Liebesman
Running Time: Too many minutes
No spoilers, 'cause I don't play that way.
Our country is stumbling headlong through an ill-defined, rights-eroding, and life-taking war on terror. The volume of illiterates expectorated by our nation’s schools who can’t find the United States on a map grows larger each day. More people went to see Darkness Falls than any other movie in this land of liberty during its opening weekend. We Americans truly do live in a sick culture.
A horror movie made upon the increasingly popular theory that terror or suspense is much less important than fear of hearing loss, Darkness Falls contributes nothing to a genre so surprisingly enriched by 2002's The Ring. The real redeeming quality of this forgettable exercise in sound editing is unintentional comedy. Don’t misunderstand; there is no humor in seeing people die. Unfortunately, when mishandled as brutally as in this stunning example of dreadful filmmaking, even the thrills can go wrong.
Let us briefly examine the plot, which I swear I am not making up. Once upon a time, says the edgy voiceover, in the peaceful New England horror movie town of Darkness Falls, there was an old woman who lived alone and gave children gold coins in exchange for lost teeth. Where she got this bottomless trove of gold coins in the mid-nineteenth century goes unexplained. Perhaps she was a pirate. At any rate, she was horribly disfigured in an unexplained fire one dreadful night. I still like my pirate theory. Perhaps she was black-dotted. To continue with the real plot, she was thenceforth unable to step outside in the light of day. At night, she would walk the streets cloaked and masked in porcelain to hide her burns. The people became afraid, and finally hanged her for murdering children that she didn’t murder. This apparently pissed off her eternal soul, and it chose to wander the earth forever, murdering children to get back at the town for not believing that she would never murder children. That’s right, folks. This movie is about the tooth fairy, come to kill us all.
If you’re gripped with terror right now, that’s probably because it might get worse. I’m sorry. It does.
When Kyle Walsh was little, it killed his mother, but he survived because he knows the secret: even in death, the tooth fairy woman can’t stand light. Today, Kyle Walsh (Chaney Kley, who won’t be busting any blocks anytime soon) takes his psychotropic cocktail each day like a good little boy of the 80’s and has an incredible fascination with flashlights. He receives a call from childhood sweetheart Caitlin Greene (Emma Caulfield, who manages to break genre by staying completely and loosely clothed) saying that her brother Michael Greene (Lee Cormie, who is probably about ten but talks like an L.A. screenwriter, in some strange coincidence) is having night terrors just like Kyle did during the twelve years during which Caitlin never talked to him, and could he please help?
Look, folks, I don’t write this stuff, I just review it. There are actual conversations between the two characters where Caitlin says “So, what happened to you after that night? I never heard from you again,” followed shortly by, “how did you get over the nightmares you had after that night?” Oh yeah, and if the tooth fairy kills everyone in the darkness, how come the town wasn’t exterminated before electric lighting became common? Also, why is she only pissed off at you if you look at her, when, to look at her, she has to be in the light? Also, how does she always know how to kill the character with the least lines? We’re talking about plot holes that lighthouses could disappear into.
From the first moment when the tooth fairy appears with a terrible case of indigestion, if the “scary” noises she emits are any indication, to the second or third time she throws a body at someone, we’re treated to intermittent uneasiness interrupted by brief bursts of uncontrollable laughter at the ridiculousness of it all. When the inevitable conclusion arrives (twice, as per industry standards) we’re simply glad that we don’t have to watch actors anymore who think “conveying emotion” equals “pretending to have a migraine headache.”
Hollywood, the tooth-fairy-as-homicidal-spirit-who-attacks-in-darkness genre is ripe for exploitation. Please make a sequel. When writing reviews is this easy, it’s kind of fun.
Noded in honor of Halloween, 2003, and because, with all due respect to Randofu and his opinion, "not too bad" is as generous as my mama's helpings of potatoes, and she won't let you go home hungry.