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This thrift-store Freddy could
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that didn't totally SUCK!

Darkness Falls
Review written by: Alex Sandell

Darkness Falls starts out with a semi-interesting urban legend regarding an old lady who used to give a gold coin to any child who brought her a tooth.  This generous act led to her being called, "The Tooth Fairy," and children in the town of Darkness Falls loved her, as she loved them.  Unfortunately, The Tooth Fairy was badly burned, so she could look like Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street, and her skin became sensitive to the point where she could no longer leave her house during the day, but only at night, after darkness had fallen all over the land.  One night two children in Darkness Falls went missing, and the townsfolk immediately blamed The Tooth Fairy, and put her to death.  The next day the children were found, safe.  Ever since that fateful day the town has had to deal with the spirit of The Tooth Fairy, who gets revenge on the evil adults by killing kids when they lose their teeth.  And what moviegoers have to deal with is quite possibly the most predictable, inane and catastrophically generic horror film in cinematic history.

This miserable rip-off of the A Nightmare on Elm Street series commits the worst sin a scary movie can by failing to follow even its own weak set of rules.  The Tooth Fairy is supposedly there to kill children after they lose their last baby tooth, but she doesn't seem to mind knocking out a roughneck at a bar, a police station full of people, or even a hospital filled with patients.  As this malicious mayhem occurs -- in an extremely watered-down, PG-13 sort of way -- we also have "scary" things happening such as black cats jumping into frame and screeching, people walking up behind other people and giving them a start, and unexplained power outages, causing darkness to fall all over Darkness Falls.  By the middle of the film, I started to wonder if there would be a Twilight Zone twist revealing that The Tooth Fairy was actually an Enron employee using this whole "revenge" thing as a front to jack up energy prices to insure people had adequate lighting to hide in.  Then I remembered that this was Darkness Falls I was watching, and there was no way the most dim-witted movie ever created could grasp the concept of a "twist ending," or steal something as complex as the finale to a bad episode of Scooby-Doo. 

Darkness Falls is the kind of film that nearly killed horror in the late 1980s.  It has no sense of logic, no character development and, most importantly, no horror.  It's made for the sole purpose of bringing in a big first-weekend gross, with enough scary images to fill up a 2-minute advertisement created to entice teenagers. 

The studio figures that with a low-budget film they can recoup their entire investment in a couple of days and then bring in a nice profit on video.  What the studio is forgetting now is what nearly killed horror then; if enough slap-dash crap-fests like Darkness Falls are released, people will find their way to a different film at the multiplex, or may even leave the theater to attend more intelligent events, such as arm-wrestling contests or midget wrestling.   Even a rat will find his way out of a maze if you shock him enough times. 

So, what foolhardy freak wrote this film in pursuit of driving up admissions to midget wrestling tournaments?  To my surprise, it actually took three creeps to conjure up this criminally bad cash-cow.  Joe Harris seems mostly to blame, seeing as how he wrote the "story" and also helped with the screenplay.  John Fasano, quite possibly the worst screenwriter since Ed Wood, with films such as, Megiddo: The Omega Code 2 and Universal Soldier: The Return to his name, most definitely did his part in this quest to out-suck the once previously "out-suckable."  Finally, there's James Vanderbilt, who is making his screenwriting debut with Darkness Falls, but is sure to stun us all again with his artistry when his epic, Helldorado comes out later this year.  The only truly terrifying thing about Darkness Falls is reading the credits and realizing that there were three paid screenwriters whose combined IQs could only create something as brainless as Darkness Falls.

As an avid horror fan (some would say, "horror whore," seeing as how I'm "easy" on a large number of films in this genre), I was honestly insulted by this movie.  I've witnessed the worst of the worst, and trust me ... this one's worse than all that I've witnessed.  Amateur-hour director, Jonathan Liebesman doesn't seem capable of squeezing a single scare out of the rancid material he's been given.  He seems capable of nothing more than throwing things in the frame really quick in hopes of getting a cheap jump out of the audience.  About one person in the theater actually fell for this (that was the one who had never seen a horror movie before in her life) and was startled into a little leap, and about 100 audience members just rolled their eyes and wished that this traumatic cinematic event would be over. 

Thankfully, the movie is only about 75 minutes long and has Emma Caulfield (Anya from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) doing her best to lend some credibility to her poorly chosen feature-film debut.  Regrettably, the 75 minutes seem to never end, and Emma's efforts don't come close to saving this piece of shit from being dumped right into the critical crapper.  If you look up the definition of "avoid at all costs," there would be a picture of Darkness Falls.  We're only a month in, and already we've been given the worst movie of 2003.  At least they gave us the chance to get it over with quick.

On a scale of 1-10?

Wanna read about another new horror movie that may actually be worth your time?  Head over to my review of, Final Destination 2!

Check out the Juicy review for, Chicago!  You might also want to read my review of Narc or check out my review of Adaptation, or head on over to my critique of Catch me if you Can, or, if you're in the mood, read The Juicy Cerebellum's review of About Schmidt, or take a look at the review for Gangs of New York! 

Be back for Juicy reviews of, DAREDEVIL, HOW TO LOSE A GUY IN 10 DAYS, THE DOUBLE-D AVENGER and THE QUIET AMERICAN, all coming up within the next week!

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Text (Copyright) 2002 Alex Sandell [All Rights Reserved].

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