Darkness Falls
2Ĺ out of 5 stars
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There are some scary moments in this film, but basically they're because (1) it reminds you so much of almost every other horror movie you've ever seen and (2) they fill the soundtrack with unsettling and loud noises that would make anyone jump! The plot is ridiculous, and over-described in a prologue: Years ago in the town of Darkness Falls a woman is mistakenly accused of being the tooth fairy murderer, so her murderous ghost haunts the children of the town. But now she's decided to go after pretty much everyone, starting with a little boy who got away (Kley) and his childhood buddy (Caulfield), who happens to have a little brother of tooth-losing age (Cormie). Now all those old school rivalries must be put aside as the town battles the ghastly spirit.

Basically this is The Nightmare on Elm Street with a little Halloween stirred in ... and Stephen King overtones (the town is in Maine!). It's all so over-familiar that it's utterly silly from the moment it starts, and the only terror comes in the filmmaking, which fills the soundtrack with scrapes and thuds and loud chords of music. Many of these are red herrings, but they keep us jumpy nonetheless. The cast tries its best to make us believe that they believe all this nonsense, but the plot holes are just too big to overcome. Not to mention cliches like thunderstorms, power outages and a porcelain mask the ghost wears to look even creepier. The effects are actually quite good, and if the film had even a tiny bit of wit or originality it might've been more fun to watch. Instead it becomes unintentionally more hilarious by the moment. Ah well.

cert 15 themes, language, violence 29.Apr.03

dir Jonathan Liebesman
scr John Fasano, James Vanderbilt, Joe Harris
with Chaney Kley, Emma Caulfield, Lee Cormie, Grant Piro, Sullivan Stapleton, Steve Mouzakis, Peter Curtin, Kestie Morassi, Angus Murray Lincoln Sampson, Jenny Lovell, John Stanton, Charlotte Rees
release US 24.Jan.03; UK 9.May.03
03/Australia 1h25

Quivering in the dark. Kyle, Caitlyn and Michael (Kley, Caulfield and Cormie) wait for the next attack...

evil rises
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send your review to Shadows... evil rises Dave Haviland, London: 2 out of 5 stars "A slightly long-winded premise leads to a standard horror-by-numbers with lots of sudden jolts, prescient children and chases through woods. The action is well handled, and the film looks good, set in constant semi-darkness allowing lots of shadowy corners for the Tooth Fairy to leap out of. Chaney Kley gives a strong performance as a literally haunted man, and Emma Caulfield makes a determined and appealing heroine. However the film suffers from a weak antagonist, and a meandering plot. The Tooth Fairy is essentially an old crone in a Phantom of the Opera mask, and itís never fully clear what she can and canít do; for example she seems able to get into any building, but canít break into a lift or cell. Darkness Falls provides a scary couple of hours, with some good moments, but it wonít give you nightmares." (30.Dec.03)
© 2003 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall