Distributed by: Dimension
Reviewed by Ismael Manzano
In the unrated version of Darkness, an American family moves to a remote house in Spain not long before an eclipse is set to happen—an eclipse that occurs only once every forty years. But there’s something strange about the house, something no one can quite explain or understand. Only Paul (Stephan Enquist) and his older sister Regina (Anna Paquin) suspect something darker lurks within the walls of their new home.
As the terror unfolds, Paul begins to withdraw from the family, becomes afraid of the dark and strange bruises appear on his body. Regina knows something is wrong and she’s determined to find out what, but her father has become obsessed with the house and her mother is caught in the throes of denial.
The situation is further complicated when Regina’s father—who once suffered from a rare disease that left him prone to violent outbursts, but has since been cured—begins to show signs of a relapse. While trying to find an explanation to the mysterious occurrences, Regina stumbles upon the history of their new house. Almost forty years ago, seven children disappeared, their bodies were never found. Only one escaped the slaughter of a ritual sacrifice perpetrated by the designers of the house, occult leaders determined to bring about the return of pure darkness.
Now, forty years later, it seems the slaughter is about to begin again, and with only the seventh child left and young Paul trapped in the house, Regina is in a race against time to get her little brother away from the house before the eclipse.
While most of the movie is a little predictable for its genre—a house with a terrible past, a tormented kid, a bullying father—it has enough action, gore and powerfully acted scenes to keep even the most avid horror fans riveted. And the ending is not to be missed, diverting from the norm of horror movies, taking a bold direction that most movies would not dare to take.
With its quick cuts and day jumps, it has some similarities to the classic film, The Shining, and like the father in The Shining, the father in Darkness slowly succumbs to the thrall of the house and descends into madness. It has genuine thrills and a host of eerie moments that will have you gripping your seat and reaching to turn on the lights. Darkness is packed with disturbing images delivered through that classic yet effective style of quick flash and strident sounds. The horror aspect of the movie is balanced by the mystery of the house, and is drawn out slowly through the beginning, leaving the audience to wonder how much of the father’s behavior is related to the house and how much is the cause of the illness he thought he was rid of.
All in all, Darkness is a great rental; I dare you to watch this movie with the lights off.