Darkness Falls

When the curtain rises on Darkness Falls, eyelids fall. Darkness Falls is the latest "horror" film, notable in that it really resembles another recent mediocre "horror" film, They, much more than it really should. The big baddie here is called the Tooth Fairy, the ghost of a woman hung wrongly years ago. She had a reputation for giving children coins when they lost their teeth. She was horribly disfigured in a fire and had to wear a porcelain mask, and now, when a child loses his/her last tooth, she comes, and if they see her, she kills them. It doesn't make a lot of sense, but compared to the rest of the movie, it is the unified theory. The only thing Darkness Falls has going for it is lots of moments designed purely to make people jump out of their seats.

Michael Greene (Lee Cormie) saw the Tooth Fairy, and is now afraid to sleep and afraid of the dark. His sister Caitlin (Emma Caulfield) doesn't know what to do. As a last resort, she turns to her old friend Kyle (Chaney Kley, Legally Blonde). Twelve years ago, Kyle saw the Tooth Fairy. She murdered his mother, and he was blamed for the murder. His life to now consisted of foster homes, antipsychotic medications, and various other horrors that never worked. Kyle is still afraid of the dark, because the Tooth Fairy is still after him. He reluctantly decides to help Michael and Caitlin, because, well, there needs to be a movie. Now that Kyle is back in town, he immediately becomes the prime suspect when the body count begins rapidly rising.

The bulk of Darkness Falls is a big chase movie. Writers Joe Harris (Tooth Fairy, Rapscallions), John Fasano (Megiddo, The Visit), and James Vanderbilt resort to almost every trick in the horror canon. The trick here is for Michael, Caitlin, and Kyle to "stay in the light." The Tooth Fairy can only hurt people when they are in the dark, which fails to answer the question why Michael just can't sleep outside during the day. The story is fairly insubstantial, so it gets dull quickly, and also reminds viewers of Pitch Black. Worse, director Jonathan Liebesman (Genesis and Catastrophe) uses some horrible editing so it is hard to see anything, especially when the Tooth Fairy attacks. Granted, choppy editing is the norm for horror films, usually to obscure the villain until the end, but it's just ridiculous here. The Tooth Fairy herself, designed by Stan Winston, is not very scary.

Aside from Caulfield, who has a role on UPN's Buffy the Vampire Slayer, none of the actors have much experience. Asking them to headline here is not much of a stretch, since they don't do much except run and scream (and hold flashlights). Darkness Falls has a lot going against it. The gaping plot holes are worse than usual for the genre. The PG-13 rating prevents it from some of the reliable horror elements like unnecessary nudity and gruesome deaths. Resultantly, the movie takes bits and pieces from other horror movies and pieces them together into a big unsatisfying mess. However, as mentioned before, there are surprisingly many moments where Liebesman can get the audience to jump. Well, this is probably because it is a loud noise waking them up more than anything else.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 25 minutes, Rated PG-13 for terror and horror images, and brief language.

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