Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Tooth for an Eye: Darkness Falls (2003)

Darkness Falls (2003)
starring: Chaney Kley, Emma Caulfield and Lee Cormie

In a public where blood is always thicker, and bodies are always needed, horror films these days usually end up becoming torture shows that can get a tad tiring at times. So when Darkness Falls decide to go back to the roots, to the very essence of horror itself, it came through with critical eyes and tilted heads.

The movie starts with a narration of what happened in 1800, concerning one Matilda Dixon, a kind elderly woman, nicknamed "The Toothfairy" for her reputation of giving gold coins to children who hand her their baby teeth. But after a house fire scarred her beyond recognition, she continued living as a recluse, only going out at night with a porcelain mask over her face. One day, two children didn't came home and all the blame went to Dixon, riling up a crowd into hanging, only to later discover the children were just lost. The town then went silent since for the crime they had committed, not knowing how dire the consequences will comes...

Fast Forward to some time in the 90s, when a young boy named Kyle just lost his last baby tooth. He was warned once by his friend Caitlin to try and not look at the fabled tooth fairy as she visits him for his tooth, but that night, Kyle woke up and unfortunately locks eyes with the ghost of Matilda. Now fueled with rage, the wraith attacks, killing his mother and forcing him to take refuge at a well-lit room overnight, psychologically scarring him to fear the dark.

Further forwarding twelve years later, Caitlin, now an adult, is worried about her younger brother who begins to act strangely towards the dark, just like Kyle did when he was just a boy. Feeling he might help, she contacts Kyle, who after all of these years still obsesses over of what happened the night he lost his mother. Caitlin never knew how much of a help Kyle would be as things aren't as easy as they seem when Matilda returns to finish her slaughtering.

If Darkness Falls would prove anything, it's that we all know our horror. The film barely touches anything to hype it up as the gore is absent, some scare factors felt underwhelming and there's a lack of T&A. Instead the movie treats us with a lot of offscreen kills and a few decent looking imagery, which, in a way it works, but still feeling like it could have done more. With a fine opening, I was really hoping the movie would follow it up with more scares and/or workable monster attacks, but rather Darkness Falls decided to play it safe with a very familiar "monster movie" trope mixed with a hint of "supernatural" horror and some inconsistencies (Most notable being the fact that the Tooth Fairy is supposed to be very sensitive to light. She scurries away violently even from a tiny flash of a torchlight, yet she moves fluidly around a lightning storm, unaffected.)

Darkness Falls isn't all bad, to be honest. It features a rather cool villainess with a white mask covering her burnt face, screaming like a banshee and mauling her victims to death. Matilda is just the pure rage and uncontrollable mayhem that deserves a better movie, a basic example of a supernatural slasher monster with a lot of potential. There's also some decent acting, a good script and the production looks pretty cool at times (and not to mention that awesome ending song played at the end), so I believe the best way to go about this popcorn muncher of a slasher-creature feature is not to expect too much. Its an underrated movie for a lot of good reason, but still a fair attempt to create a "basic" horror film.

1 elderly female hanged (mentioned)
1 female had her neck broken
1 male mauled to death offcamera
1 male mauled to death off camera
1 dog accidentally shot
1 male thrown against bars
1 male killed, method not seen
1 male mauled to death
1 female thrown through window
1 male swung into the floor, killed
1 female killed offscreen
1 female killed offscreen
1 male pulled off from a car, killed
1 male killed offscreen
total: 14


  1. starts out pretty creepy but ends up boring and disappointing. I prefer other works from director Liebesman (TCM: The Beginning, Killing Room, Rings)

  2. oh yeah, TCM: The Beginning so good! I still don't get why so many hated it?