June 13, 2016

Theatrical Review: The Darkness (2016)

"This is Hollywood Horror at its most bland."

(aka The Blandness.)
Release Date: May 13th.
Country: USA.
Rating: PG-13.
Written by: Shayne Armstrong and Shane Krause.
Directed by: Greg McLean.
Starring: Kevin Bacon, Radha Mitchell, Lucy Fry, Tara Lynn Barr, Paul Reiser, and Jennifer Morrison.

Having directed the Wolf Creek series and Rogue, and having produced moves like Red Hill and Crawlspace, it's safe to say that we're big fans of Aussie writer/director Greg McLean.

So the idea of him doing a Supernatural Thriller like The Darkness, especially when it stars a the always awesome Kevin Bacon, is one that makes us all kinds of excited. I mean, with that kind of talent on both sides of the camera, it's destined to be great, right?


On a family trip to the Grand Canyon, the Taylor family awakens a long-dormant evil when autistic son Mikey falls into a hole and discovers some sort of hidden Native American Demon chamber. In this chamber, he finds five rune stones that are clearly not meant to be touched, but he thinks that they're shiny, so he takes them home with him... which means that he's also bringing back five Demons as souvenirs of their trip as well.

Back home, odd things begin to happen around the house: the sink turns on by itself; hand prints appear of steamy mirrors; there are noises in the attic; the garbage smells funny... which makes me wonder, what in the hell do Demons actually do with their time? Honestly, they're supposed to be a terrifying powerful, ancient other-worldly force, and they tip over lamps and shit? And why are they called "Jenny"?

Anywho, scary things begin to happen, and the family get real scared, and none of it is particularly scary at all; at least for we, the viewer.

You've-seen-it-done-much-better-before ensues.

With a guy like Greg McLean at the helm, you'd figure this movie would be scary, or at the very least, intense, but The Darkness is neither of those things. In fact, it's about as bland and uninspiring as these types of Hollywood Horror flicks get, and that's saying a lot.

Not being scary is really the biggest sin that any Horror movie can commit, not counting Horror Comedies, of course. If you're going to make a movie that plays like every other Supernatural Thriller that's come along over the last 15 years, then it's at least got to be scary, or offer up some sort of visual terror that makes up for its lack of originality. If not, then what's the point?

Then again, this is Hollywood we're talking about here, and they don't make PG-13 Horror flicks like this to be good; they make them to test well with audiences, so that they can have a big opening weekend, and then shuffle them off to Blu-ray & VOD 2 months later. We should know better by now than to expect anything from these types of efforts, and yet we're always sucked in...

The cast does and admirable job at going through the motions. Kevin Bacon is the man, and he's always a credit to anything he's in, and Radha Mitchell is at her usual level here, but neither of them have anything to fucking do throughout this one other than look concerned or bicker about some trivial bullshit. Like the lazy script, the actors do little more than go through the motions here, which I won't blame them for.

And that's really the problem with this movie: it never builds up any steam. Something scary or unusual happens, the characters freak out for a minute, and then in the next scene they're going for a jog or worrying about the grocery list or something... until the next  scary thing happens, and they the cycle repeats. Worst of all, this movie doesn't even go through good motions over and over again.

The Darkness is a well-made movie, and it's got a solid cast doing the best job that they can with the lackluster, unoriginal script they were given, but it just doesn't pack any punch, and even worse, it's not scary at all. Like a lot of Blumhouse movies, this one probably sounded great on paper, but something must have got lost in translation. Maybe a lot of things.


The Darkness is in theaters now.

The ladies of The Darkness.

*Not sure where this Ilza Rosario (bottom) came from, but we'd be fine with seeing more of her.


  1. This was barely even a movie. Totally agree with your rating although I would've left out the +.

  2. I was so baffled at seeing Paul Reiser in a moving again after so long, that I almost enjoyed this. I say almost, because even with super low expectations, this one was bad. Thank God in 2016, we need only use the "Go to the internet" mechanism to reveal the plot. I am so sick of characters uncovering obscure lore so easily via a web browser search. It just feels very sloppy to me. Also not clear on why Jennifer Morrison or Ming Na Wen chose to do the movie, given their combined 5 minutes of screen time.